To make a serious financial scandal much, much worse, simply quadruple the sums involved and add gangsters. Investigators probing the shady accounting at Japanese camera maker Olympus believe that in addition to the $1.4 billion the firm paid in merger fees to mask losses, some $4.9 billion is unaccounted for and much of that went to Yakuza organized crime groups, according to a police memo obtained by the New York Times.
Organized crime syndicates that knew about the firm's earlier cover-ups coerced it to channel ever-growing amounts of money out of the company by buying up firms that were Yakuza fronts, the memo suggests. Olympus has lost more than 70% of its stock market value since the scandal surfaced, and it will probably be delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange if investigators confirm the links to organized crime. (Read more Olympus stories.)