Olympus Corp., the camera maker being investigated by Japanese, U.S. and United Kingdom authorities for alleged accounting irregularities, has been sued by an investor in its American depositary receipts seeking class-action status. Olympus, former president Michael C. Woodford, ex-chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa and current president Shuichi Takayama caused Olympus to engage in fraud, resulting in investor losses. The suit was filed in federal court in Pennsylvania.
The lawsuit by New York-based Sarraf Gentile LLP seeks class, or group, status on behalf of other investors in the U.S. Plaintiff Lloyd Graham, who bought Olympus ADRs on Oct. 27, seeks unspecified damages. Olympus shares fell by more than 34% on Nov. 8 in New York, the day the company reversed denials that there was any wrongdoing over $687 million in advisory fees paid on its $2 billion acquisition of Gyrus Group Plc in 2008. The company said it had paid the inflated fees to advisers to hide losses.
Kikukawa resigned last month and an internal investigation is continuing into allegations about accounting problems made by Woodford after he was fired on October 14th. Olympus says that its shareholders in Japan requested the company’s auditors sue directors for 139.4 billion yen ($1.8 billion) in compensation.
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