* Chan Ming Fon pleads guilty to conspiracy to commit wire
* Says he concealed that assets had been liquidated
By Bernard Vaughan
NEW YORK, Sept 18 A former Singapore banker
pleaded guilty in federal court in New York on Wednesday to
helping Japan's Olympus Corp orchestrate a $1.7 billion
Prosecutors said that Chan Ming Fon helped secretly
liquidate hundreds of millions of dollars of Olympus investments
over six years and then lied to auditors by certifying that the
investments still existed.
In court on Wednesday, Chan, 50, described through an
interpreter how he provided false information to an auditor
about an Olympus-backed investment portfolio he managed. He said
he led the auditor to believe the portfolio was safe, when the
assets had actually been liquidated and transferred to another
entity to repay an undisclosed loan.
"I know that I participated in the previously described
transactions, and I acknowledge that my conduct was wrong," said
Chan, who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit
Before working for Olympus, Chan had been a banker at
Commerzbank AG and Societe Generale.
Chan was the first executive from outside Japan to be
indicted over the accounting scandal at Olympus, a 93-year-old
maker of cameras and medical devices.
The accounting fraud was exposed in 2011 by former Chief
Executive Michael Woodford, who was fired after questioning
accounting transactions later found to have been used to hide
losses. Olympus eventually admitted it used improper accounting
to conceal investment losses and restated five years of
Chan was arrested in Los Angeles in December.
Chan, who is cooperating in an ongoing investigation, will
be released on a $3 million bond secured with $1.5 million in
cash and the California home of his sister, where he will live.
U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain scheduled Chan to be
sentenced on Jan. 10. He faces a maximum of five years in
The case is U.S. v. Chan, U.S. District Court, Southern
District of New York, No. 13-cr-00052.