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9/11

Michael Woodford reacts to Olympus admission

Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - 02:30

Nov. 8 - Former Olympus Chief Executive Michael Woodford speaks to Reuters TV about the disclosure by the iconic Japanese electronics manufacturer that it hid losses on securities investments dating back two decades. Matt Cowan reports.

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He was the Chief Executive of the iconic Japanese electronics company Olympus for only two weeks before being pushed out. The 92-year-old firm insisted the British executive Michael Woodford was just a bad fit. He maintained he was dumped for raising uncomfortartable questions about abnormal and unexplained payments. Just over three weeks later, Olympus has admitted it hid losses on securities investments dating back two decades. Woodford dropped by Reuters TV in London to give his reaction to the news. SOUNDBITE: Michael Woodford, Former Olympus CEO saying (English): "I don't want to indulge in my own feelings, but it proves what I was saying was true." The admission after weeks of denials shocked investors, sending shares in the camera maker skidding almost 30 percent and prompting the biggest non-Japanese shareholder to demand the replacement of the entire board. Something Woodford is also pushing for. SOUNDBITE: Michael Woodford, Former Olympus CEO saying (English): "Now they've confessed to these transactions of more than one and a half billion has been spent on them to hide previous losses, so we need to find out what were those losses, how big were those losses, what were they in a detailed sense but even more importantly where has this money gone? Has it been used to pay advisors? Who's worked with us? Who's assisted us? Those need to be questions in a very probing way and answered quickly." Olympus's shares are now at their lowest level in 16 years and the company has lost 70 percent of its value since Woodford was fired on October 14. It's disclosure leaves its directors and accountants open to possible criminal charges and shareholder lawsuits...but Woodford says he would gladly go back and take the helm again. SOUNDBITE: Michael Woodford, Former Olympus CEO saying (English): "Because there's 40,000 people there and so many have worked for me and supported me, many of them in a clandestine way in recent weeks. I just don't want to betray them. The decision as to whether I go back - there's some legal and security issues that need to be resolved - would be the shareholders, and the majority of shares are held in Japan so it's for the Japanese institutional shareholders which are the largest, which are the largest financial and banking corporations in Japan to decide - do they want me?" The Olympus affair -- initially given little attention by most domestic media -- is the biggest corporate scandal to hit Japan in over a decade. Woodford is one of many who'll be watching closely to see how it's handled from here on out. Matt Cowan, Reuters

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Michael Woodford reacts to Olympus admission

Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - 02:30