Japan's Olympus Corp. has confirmed news reports that it is suing 19 current and former board directors and executives in connection with the cover-up of more than US$1.5 billion in investment losses dating back to the 1990s.
Those sued include President Shuichi Takayama and four other current board directors, who also serve as executive officers. But the company said Takayama and the other directors will remain in office until the next shareholders' meeting in March or April to "avoid harming the company's operations."
Olympus's action is in response to a 200-page report submitted by an independent panel it created to look into the liability of the persons identified by another independent panel as directly or indirectly implicated in the accounting fraud.
Olympus is asking the court to award it 3.61 billion yen (US$47 million) in damages from the 19 defendants. The biggest claims were filed against former chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, former executive vice president Hisashi Mori and former corporate auditor Hideo Yamada. Olympus accused them of direct involvement in the cover-up.
Olympus said Takayama and the other current directors were not directly involved, but were remiss in their duties when they approved some of the deals that were later found to be part of the scheme.