Olympus panel puts losses hidden at peak at $1.7 billion: source

TOKYO Sun Dec 4, 2011 6:36pm EST

The Olympus logo on its camera is seen in this illustrative photograph taken in Tokyo November 24, 2011. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

The Olympus logo on its camera is seen in this illustrative photograph taken in Tokyo November 24, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon

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TOKYO (Reuters) - A panel appointed by Olympus Corp to probe the accounting scandal engulfing the Japanese firm estimates that Olympus hid investment losses totaling 130 billion yen ($1.7 billion) at the peak of the cover-up, a source familiar with the investigation said.

The source said the panel's report, to be issued as early as Tuesday, would state that former executive vice president Hisashi Mori and ex-internal auditor Hideo Yamada led the scheme and informed former president Tsuyoshi Kikukawa.

The Nikkei business daily said that the panel was leaning towards stating that it had found no proof that organized crime syndicates were involved in the scheme.

(Reporting By Reiji Murai; Writing by Linda Sieg; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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