Missing Olympus Billions Tied to Yakuza Crime Gangs

$4.9B unaccounted for at Japanese firm
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2011 3:10 AM CST
Updated Nov 18, 2011 4:46 AM CST
Missing Olympus Billions Tied to Yakuza Crime Gangs
Olympus Corp. President Shuichi Takayama bows in apology during a press conference in Tokyo earlier this month.   (AP Photo/Mainichi Shimbun, Toyokazu Tsumura)

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. (More Olympus stories.)

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