Olympus suit targets inside auditors

Kyodo

Olympus Corp. said Tuesday it has filed a lawsuit seeking up to a total of ¥1 billion in damages from five current and former auditors for losses associated with the camera and medical equipment maker’s accounting fraud.

The company filed the damages suit with the Tokyo District Court after receiving an in-house panel’s report, which said the auditors are responsible for about ¥8.38 billion in losses. The amount sought was decided by taking into consideration the auditors’ ability to pay damages.

The panel said the company’s two auditing firms, KPMG Azsa LLC and Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC, were not liable, saying they had conducted the necessary procedures and it was hard for them to spot the loss coverup.

The suit over some of the losses will follow another damages suit filed with the court last week by Olympus, which admitted hiding ¥117.7 billion in investment losses dating to the 1990s. Olympus is demanding 19 current and former executives pay up to ¥3.6 billion in compensation for the losses.

The Tuesday report said current auditor Tadao Imai, outside auditors Makoto Shimada and Yasuo Nakamura, and two former auditors, Minoru Ota and Katsuo Komatsu, were responsible for failing to fulfill their roles.