Bloomberg News

Germany Confirms Breach-of-Trust Charge Against Olympus Managers

November 02, 2011

Nov. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Hamburg prosecutors have charged three former managers of a Olympus Corp. unit in Europe with breach of trust, spokesman Wilhelm Moellers said today.

The managers, one Italian and two German nationals, were charged in March in connection with four payments totaling 640,000 euros ($883,000) made between July and October 2003 where no services appeared to have been rendered, Moellers said in a telephone interview. Two of the managers allegedly authorized the payments, while a third is allegedly related to a Swiss company that was the beneficiary of the payments, he said.

“The court now has to decide whether to open the case,” he said, adding that no hearing date has been set.

Franziska Jorke, an Olympus Europa Holding GmbH spokeswoman in Hamburg, declined to comment on the identity of the managers or on the details of the case.

Olympus, the world’s largest maker of endoscopes, has been in a war of words with fired president Michael C. Woodford over advisory fees paid in takeovers. Yesterday, the Tokyo-based company said it selected former prosecutors to investigate past acquisitions.

“In 2008, following an audit by the tax authorities, a transaction was subjected to an internal audit,” Jorke said in an e-mail. “Having consulted our external legal advisers, Olympus submitted details of this transaction to the Office of the Public Prosecutor. The management of Olympus Europa Holding had no knowledge of the transaction in question prior to the internal audit.”

--Editors: Kenneth Wong, Christopher Scinta

To contact the reporter on this story: Ragnhild Kjetland in Frankfurt at rkjetland@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net


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