Scandal-wracked Olympus and three of its former top executives pleaded guilty in court on Tuesday over charges they deliberately hid losses worth $1.7 billion after a series of bad investments.
Former president Tsuyoshi Kikukawa apologised in Tokyo District Court and said he would take “full responsibility” for the crime that came to light when his British successor blew the whistle roughly a year ago.
“All responsibility rests with me as the president. I shall take full responsibility,” Kikukawa told the court at its first hearing.
“I sincerely apologise for all the troubles that I caused," he said as he admitted charges that he falsified the firm’s official financial filing between 2007 through 2011 to inflate the apparent net worth of Olympus.
The case was originally thrust into the spotlight last year by Michael Woodford, who replaced Kikukawa at the head of the company and became the first foreigner to lead the camera and endoscope maker. The Briton initially internally questioned the company’s past acquisitions and outsized consultant fees, suspecting that the moves might have been used to hide losses dating back to the 1990s. He was abruptly demoted shortly before exposing the scheme.