National / Crime & Legal

Ex-securities broker jailed after counseling Olympus on hiding losses

Kyodo

The Tokyo District Court on Wednesday sentenced a 61-year-old former securities broker to four years in prison for counseling the management of major optical equipment-maker Olympus Corp. on hiding massive losses.

It also ordered Nobumasa Yokoo to pay ¥10 million ($82,000) in fines.

The court also sentenced two accomplices who had been Yokoo’s subordinates at a brokerage firm — Taku Hata, 52, and Hiroshi Ono, 53 — to three years in prison with a ¥6 million fine, and two years in prison suspended for four years with a fine of ¥4 million, respectively.

The defendants had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The three were found guilty of aiding and abetting Olympus’ management in making false filings to regulators for fiscal years 2006 and 2007 to cover up the firm’s massive investment losses.

Prosecutors had argued that the three conspired with the Olympus management in making the filings, in which the firm’s net assets had been overstated by about ¥110 billion.

They had called for Yokoo to be imprisoned for six years and slapped with a ¥12 million fine, while seeking four years in prison and an ¥8 million fine for Hata and three years in prison and a ¥6 million fine for Ono.

In July 2013, the district court found a former Olympus chairman and two other former executives guilty of covering up massive investment losses but gave them suspended prison terms. The verdicts have since been finalized.

The cover-up came to light in October 2011 when Olympus President Michael Woodford blew the whistle on dubious accounting practices related to the firm’s corporate acquisitions.