A pair of New York law firms have commenced shareholder lawsuits against Olympus Corporation after the Japanese camera maker admitted to accounting irregularities.
A class-action suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by the law firm Levi & Korsinsky alleging that Olympus falsely represented its finances and hid substantial investment losses by disguising them as fees paid to now-defunct investment advisors in connection with certain acquisitions.
The fraudulent accounting emerged when Olympus CEO Michael Woodford was fired after he demanded a full investigation into the suspicious payments (see Olympus’s Mounting Financial Woes). His whistle-blowing led to a wave of high-level resignations and terminations at the company, with the chairman, executive vice president and internal auditor stepping down.
Woodford now appears to be heading toward resuming his role as CEO of the company and is reportedly scheduled to attend a board meeting, according to Reuters.
Olympus recently admitted to wrongfully “engaging in activities such as deferring the posting of losses on investment securities.” The company is currently under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of purchasers of Olympus’s American Depository Receipts between Nov. 7, 2006 and Nov. 7, 2011. The per-share value of Olympus ADRs dropped from a class period high of $35.00 to a closing price of $5.95 on Nov. 10, 2011. The stock appears to be recovering with news that Woodford may be returning to the company.
Another shareholder lawsuit was filed last week seeking class-action status by another New York law firm, Sarraf Gentile LLP, on behalf of an investor plaintiff, Lloyd Graham, according to Bloomberg.
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