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Former Olympus executives arrested

Ex-President, former Executive Vice President and former auditor face jail

Former Olympus executives arrested
Three former Olympus executives have been arrested for their part in a $1.7 billion fraud.

Three former Olympus executives have been arrested in Japan over their part in $1.7 billion accounting fraud, according to Reuters.

The three were identified as the main culprits in the fraud by an investigative panel commissioned by the disgraced medical equipment and camera manufacturer.

The commission was an attempt to delay the reckoning from risky investments that Olympus, like many Japanese companies, made in the late-1980's bubble economy.

Ex-president Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, former executive vice president Hisashi Mori and former auditor Hideo Yamada have been arrested by Tokyo prosecutors on suspicion of violating the Financial Instruments and Exchange Law, officials told Reuters in a statement.

Four others were also arrested, including former bankers Akio Nakagawa and Nobumasa Yokoo, who are suspected of helping the executives hide huge investment losses through complex M&A deals.

Olympus investors are currently focusing on who will run the beleaguered company once its management steps down at an 20th April shareholders meeting, and whether Olympus will seek a capital tie-up to fix its balance sheet.

At least six of the company's 11-member board, including president Shuichi Takayama, are set to resign at the board meeting.

Three board members that were not part of the cover-up, Masataka Suzuki, Kazuhiro Watanabe and Shinichi Nishigaki, are said to be in the running for the company presidency.

In 2011, the investigative panel found Kikukawa, Mori and Yamada had played leading roles in a 13-year scheme to hide the losses, and they are among 19 executives Olympus is suing over the scandal.

An Olympus spokesman told Reuters that it would cooperate fully with the investigative authorities. The company is also currently under investigation by law enforcement agencies in Japan, Britain and the United States.

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