Olympus investigates losses

Shares in Olympus fell as much as 30% on Tuesday after the company admitted to hiding losses on securities investments for decades.

The company said it had used funds related to past acquisitions to cover these losses.

This is the biggest disclosure Olympus has made since former chief executive, Michael Woodford, claimed that he was fired for raising questions about them.

Executive vice president, Hisashi Mori, has been dismissed as a result.

Olympus president, Shuichi Takayama, is blaming former president Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, former vice president Hisashi Mori and the company's auditor Hideo Yamada for the transactions.

He added that the company would consider criminal charges if necessary.

The controversy surrounds the payments made by Olympus to financial advisors as part of its acquisition of companies including British firm Gyrus.

There is a serious danger that Olympus shares will be delisted. The future of the company is extremely dark.

The payments came to light when Mr Woodford claimed that he had been forced out of the company for raising questions about these and other accounting practices last month.

For its part, Olympus maintained that it had done nothing wrong and launched a third-party investigation into the matter.

The company also admitted that it had channelled money related to the acquisitions through various funds and other measures to defer posting losses.

Tokyo Stock Exchange, where the company's shares are listed, has stated that it needed more information, such as the size of the deferred losses, before making any decision.