"Former Olympus chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa has pleaded guilty to charges of falsifying accounts, covering up losses of $1.7bn (£1.1bn), at the opening of his trial.
"Two other former executives, as well as the camera firm itself, filed a guilty plea in Tokyo District Court.
"They face up to 10 years in prison...."
READ ON at the BBC
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From Kenneth Tanaka: "Meanwhile it looks like Sony will, indeed, become a bit of a white knight investor in Olympus, to the tune of $642 million.
"An aside...throughout much of the 1990s I was involved with an institutional investment management firm that was a true pioneer in leading normally stodgy U.S. companies to invest across broader global asset classes. When prospective clients would wonder why fees were higher for non-U.S. assets, the investment managers would have to explain just how much in-depth research needed to be done to determine the true financial situation of overseas companies—yes, even in developed settings like Japan. Accounting standards vary wildly, often making it nearly impossible to gather enough accurate data to normalize against U.S. standards. Even very large multinationals, such as Olympus, have (ahem) flexible accounting standards that mask their true health. It's not generally as much a criminal evasion (as this case apparently was) as it is differences in culture. Variations often are found among companies in the same country, with explanations sometimes relying on the company's historical standards.
"While it might seem that the Internet has helped to make global finances more transparent, those still in the business suggest that this is not the case at all. This Olympus case would seem to buttress that opinion."