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Japanese prosecutors raid Olympus offices

The raid comes after months of scandal and lost market value

Japanese prosecutors were a little late in their raiding of Olympus Corp.’s Tokyo offices on Tuesday, seeing as it’s been more than a month since the company owned up to more than a decade’s worth of accounting fraud that hid investment losses totaling $1.7 billion.

The prosecutors may have been waiting for the camera maker to finish filing its earnings restatements (which it did last week to avoid being delisted by the Tokyo Stock Exchange), one expert told Bloomberg. Or perhaps the raid by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office and police was a delayed “stamp of authority” on the whole matter, posits another expert.

The prosecutors are also said to be searching the home of former Chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa.

The board under Kikukawa was pronounced as a “rotten to the core” roundtable of “yes men” in a report released by an independent panel earlier this month. Olympus’s market value has fallen 58 percent since the scandal began with the dismissal of former CEO Michael Woodford when he questioned millions of dubious dollars involved in Olympus’s acquisition of a medical equipment manufacturer.

In the wake of what has since then become a full-blown scandal, the panel that released the report said that Japanese companies will have to rethink their traditions of unquestioning deference to superiors, to maintain their credibility in the future.

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