Woodford book about the Olympus scandal.

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Woodford is now selling his book about the Olympus scandal on Amazon (preorders here). As you know the whole story ended with Sony buying a 10% stack, some Olympus managers got a fee to pay (and no jail) and Woodford won a likely multi-million dollar settlement of his claim for unfair dismissal (Source: Huffingtopost).

 

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  • Anonymous

    /* no comment */

  • I guess he deserves some money for being ousted wrongly

  • Ab

    LOL, it should be called, how I jumped to all the wrong conclusions :)

    Not judging his actions, but all of his whistle blowing he suggested organized crime involvement, embezzling etc. He was right the money was missing, but everything else he suggested was wrong :)

    • Another Guy Named Bob

      Did HE suggest it? I never saw anything from him that claimed anything but what it was.. everything else was just rumors.

      • Ab

        Yup, he did.
        He was saying all sorts of things, calling the entire board toxic etc.:

        http://www.pcr-online.biz/news/read/former-olympus-ceo-alleges-yakuza-dealings/019056

        I cant be bothered to find out more, but he threw around al sorts of ideas… Bad form really, when all it turned out to be was them masking losses made almost 2 decades before (as many companies had). However all people will remember are the accusations…

        Remember I am not judging the exposure of the scandal, but him thrwoing himself around from news network to news network claiming all sorts of things (sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly).

        • Llamaman

          The link you provided doesn’t support the claim you are making.

          The link is to one of those poor online new sites that merely paraphrase (badly and inaccurately) other news sources. Parasitic journalism as I like to call it.

          The original Channel News Australia article contains no quote from Woodford about Yakuza, only “sinister matters”. The link to organised crime was made by a different TV journalism team – as the aricle itself clearly states; “after the ABC program AM, linked the scandal with the Japanese mafia.”

          Basically, Woodford uncovered a massive corporate fraud (hiding losses defrauds investors and banks loaning the company money) and was fired for doing so. I find it incredible that people would villify him for being a whistle-blower, and defend the corrupt Oly execs who paraded over decades of malfeasance and corruption. Being compensated for wrongful dismissal is only right and proper – especially as CEO jobs are usually on 6-12 months notice so he’ll probably be out of work for a while.
          The sad thing is that due to attitudes within Japanese corporate culture, very little has changed and this kind of thing will happen again – and is probably happening right now.

          • Ab

            “I’ve been advised by contacts in Japan that I should take care of my safety. There is a potential for organised crime to be behind some of this,” Woodford told ABC News.

            Looks like a quote to me, and notice he told ABC.

            How about the telegraph:

            Following his dismissal, Woodford passed on a file of information to the British Serious Fraud Office, and requested police protection. He hinted that the payments may have been linked to “forces behind” the Olympus board;[61] Wikipedia with citation.

            Now read my comment properly. It was his suggestions that were bad form. He had no information on what had happened at all, he didnt know who in the board knew, he knew only that money was missing.

            • Llamaman

              You make it sounds as though Woodford is a fantasist who dream all this up.
              The link to organised crime was one suggested to him by a newspaper report – one of two – he had read which raised his suspicions. Suspicisions which, when raised at Olympus, got him fired.
              As to whether any of it is true, you know no more than I (or any other casual observer) does. But common sense would dictate that paying nearly a third of a transaction cost to a middle-man in the Cayman Islands is extremely suspicious. The fact that Olympus initially denied any wrongdoing, then had to admit it also proves that there was a culture of secrecy and denial which means we will probably never get to the bottom of it unless the Japanese authorities conduct a proper investigation (good luck with that).
              As for the link with organised crime, it is self-evident. Crime on this scale involves a lot of co-ordination between numerous parties – hence it is ‘organised’. As to whether the Yakuza were involved, it would be hard to imagine that that much money could be sloshing around the Japanese black economy without some involvement from them. At least one of the individuals involved already had form of being involved in a racketeeering scandal long before the Olympus debacle, so it’s not like it’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves we’re talking about.

              You seem to think what happened at Olympus was a simple case of the FD cooking the books to hide losses. Not so. What was going on was a highly sophisiticated system of fraud involving dozens of parties inside and outside of Olympus in numerous jurisidictions including tax havens, and involving individuals of dubious reputation. It involved major takeover deals that would have involved dozens, if not hundreds of people. The whole things stinks from top to bottom and the idea that it should have been allowed to continue unabated just because they make a decent camera is laughable. The idea that Woodford was deluded in his opinion is perverse and naive. It is perhaps you who are living in a fantasy world.

              • @llamaman

                Jake “Joshua” Adelstein’s reporting on the Olympus affair leaves a lot to be desired, it actually stinks of sensationalism and inaccuracies.

                • Llamaman

                  Hyperbole is a common trait of journalists, so obviously one has to focus on the detail and not the soaring prose. But I doubt it is all fabrications – after all, if he were a liar and a fantasist, would the US State Department have employed him as an investigator?

                  What’s more likely is that few people want to look too closely into the possible links to Yakuza in case they meet a premature demise.
                  The Chairman has taken the rap, fines have been handed out and the media jackals have been fed enough to keep them happy. Nothing to see here, move along please, move along.

            • Llamaman

              Ok, how about this;
              Jake Adelstein, former crime reporter for the Yomiuri Shimbun, said these three acquired companies “shared addresses and office space with several other companies with different names but sometimes the same employees, creating a web of real and paper companies that make tracking the money very difficult.” He also alleged that Japanese authorities considered one of the auditors involved “a corporate blood brother … to the Yamaguchi-gumi.” Sankei Shimbun said there were perhaps 10 brokers involved in the acquisition schemes, and that while they “are not members of crime syndicates themselves … [some] … conduct economic activities together with antisocial forces … There is the possibility that Olympus has supplied cash (to organised crime) as a result.”

              So not the stuff of Woodford’s delusions, but the view of investigative journalists.

              • @llamaman
                “shared addresses and office space with several other companies with different names but sometimes the same employees, creating a web of real and paper companies that make tracking the money very difficult.”

                …kind of sounds like the same behaviour employed to avoid corporation tax here in the United kingdom by companies such as Starbucks, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Kelloggs,Apple,Paypal,Coca-cola, Pepsi etc etc

                • Llamaman

                  Nah, most of them avoid tax in the UK by legally diverting profits to low-tax regimes. This is done by paying inflated prices for services, goods and intellectual property, and by having the UK company highly leveraged.
                  There’s no need to obfuscate the cashflows with cross-connected shell companies as none of it is illegal or even particularly shady.

                  What Olympus was (allegedly) doing is buying companies and paying a huge wodge of cash to “advisors”, which purported to be transaction fees but was actually paying off loans taken out to hide earlier losses. The size of the payments would be hidden in the accounts a spart of the overall cost of transaction, so only those involved would know where the cash was really going. It was a deliberate, concerted effort to deceive investors, regulators and the public in general about past performance and to protect the board from justified criticism of poor management decisions.

                  The former is standard ensible, albeit aggressive, tax planning. The latter is fraud. Completely different activities, carried out in a different way, for different purposes, and with a compeltely different legal flavour.

                  Whilst one might find tax planning/avoidance distasteful, to characterise it as fraud is inaccurate and ultimately unhelpful. As long as commentators continue to expose their ignorance about tax planning (for example the coverage on the Vodaphone case has been laughable poor and ill-informed leading to a misunderstanding on the part of the public and even politicians), there will never be any real progress on changing the behaviour of multinationals.

        • Rep96st

          And they weren’t “Toxic”??

          Blind obviously you’re Blind.

          • Ab

            You crack me up. My point was all he knew was money was missing. The rest was pure speculation.
            There are 15 people on the board, how many were prosecuted?

    • utut

      Jesus you Olympus fans are like holocaust deniers, the Olympus board was riddled with fraud and corruption for at least a decade. Their corrupt acts led to inflated values of the stock which as we know collapsed ,while that is tough cheese for the super-rich shareholders it is not so funny for people whose pensions rely on funds. The BS about they only did to save the company is so retarded, the truth is they committed fraud on an epic scale with the sole intent of keeping their very highly paid jobs. Where I come from they call that theft. Only idiot fanboys like you and that fool youdidnt buy that BS

      Plus let’s not forget they have let Sony get a foot in the door and that seldom works out well

      • Ab

        WOW, you need some perspective. I mean really you need some perspective, comparing the Holocaust to this? You are sick.

    • bilgy_no1

      “Not judging his actions, but all of his whistle blowing he suggested organized crime involvement, embezzling etc. He was right the money was missing, but everything else he suggested was wrong”

      Well… there have been criminal fraud charges filed against the responsible board members, including the ones that fired Woodford. What’s more, the accused have pleaded guilty to the charges of fraud:

      http://www.engadget.com/2012/09/25/former-olympus-executives-plead-guilty-to-fraud/

      http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/16/olympus-tsuyoshi-kikukawa-arrested-in-tokyo/

      Let’s not forget that the fraud was effected with the help of some shady business partners: “Eyebrows were raised about the US$687 million paid to a middle-man as a fee – a sum equal to 31 percent of the purchase price, and which ranks as the highest ever M&A fee” (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympus_scandal). This kind of construction and criminal conspiracy is what falls under definitions of organized crime.

      So, it seems that there was substance to Woodford’s claims.

    • Dugo

      Worse then that, he vehemently fought the $500 black pain surcharge instituted by the Olympus Board of Directors Mafia. No wonder he was forced out. But he has the last laugh at Olympus — he and Sony, of course.

  • OM-4

    What is HE hiding?
    Hard to judge from this pic but looks like he had to be dodged to get right exposure, hehe.

  • I will never buy a slanderous book, so don’t count on my pennies, Admin.

    Up to a point W. did right in exposing the hidden debt his company was exposed to, but then he went way off the mark on a personal power trip.

    His merits are unknown, except that he was a manager for Europe, and probably a jobs slasher, but he was never a camera designer, and thus completely outside the company’s old tradition.

    Thankfully after a fall at the Tokyo SE, Oly has recovered, although it had to sell 10% to Sony, but presumably it did it too in the camera making interests. So the moral loser in the end is Mr. W himself.

    The fact that he got millions for it from and indebted company should tell how much he cared about its survival, and how much he cared about the success of its camera business.

    • And there I thought I had the perfect Christmas gift for you! :-P

    • Ross

      I have similar feelings to you amalric.

    • Llamaman

      So, to sum up;

      Corporate fraud – OK
      Getting compensated for wrongful dismissal – bad
      Whistleblowing – bad

      Your comment about Woodford being the “moral loser” is especially weird. So Olympus are the moral winners because they’ve (pretty much) got away with fraud? And he’s the loser for exposing it? What a bizarre set of values you have.

      We need more whistleblowers to expose corruption and they need to be protected and (if necessary) rewarded for doing so. It’s good for the market and it’s good for society as a whole.

      • Anonymous

        Whomever amalric is voting for next time around, I want to vote for the other guy.

  • I guess he won’t be saying how clueless he was and how he was just a pawn of those that sat on and then feed the info about the hidden debt, those that traded olympus shares the week before the scandal broke and also of those hedge funds that thought they could smell blood and colluded with Reuters….
    Strange how I figured it out and he couldn’t.

    • Well not a pawn exactly. At the height of the crisis, when Oly’s shares dropped in Tokyo by half. Mr W. was at the head of a group of foreign banks, mostly American, which attempted a buyout of Olympus.

      This was clearly resisted by the other majority shareholders, which were Japanese banks. When the counted the votes, Mr. W lost.

      So it was always a power trip. My impression is even the exposing of the company’s debt was instrumentally used by W. to change the property of the company.

      I was aghast at seeing him depicted as the White Knight by the Online community when he had plotted against his own company from the start.

      Having aid that there must be limits to a culture of non-transparency, and complicity. I can only think of the little shareholders seeing the prices of their stocks dropping to half in a few days.

      They were the pawns, not Mr. W. who blackmailed his company, and got away with millions!

      • @amalric
        Woodford was used as a pawn by the foreign hedge funds because he was on a power trip as soon as it became apparent that they weren’t be going to get enough shares/control they stopped paying for his flights, restaurant bills, hotel stays etc and probably his legal bills

      • Llamaman

        Or, to look at it without the Olympus rose-tinted spectacles on;

        Mr W was the proposed CEO of a group of non-Japanese investors who wanted to take control and evict the corrupt board who’d been defrauding them for years.

        A cabal of Japanese shareholders blocked the deal to allow business as usual to continue – most of the board have remained as they were. To prop up the balance sheet, they’ve got a cash injection from – surpise, surprise, another Japanese company, allowing them to blithely carry on without a whiff of reform or change. Hurrah! Triples all round.

  • Ulli

    I only wonder what brand of camera mr. Woodford uses.

  • run&gun

    I saw him with a gh2

  • Camaman

    I bet he made a few hidden millions through his “cousins” once they bought options on stocks falling down. Then a few more stocks and waithed for the Sony deal.
    Ha-ha…

    He was right to expose it, but what ever his hidden agenda and mission was in Olympus he sure made tge most of this opportunity for himself and a few closest friends.

    • Llamaman

      You are alleging that he was complicit in insider trading, which is a serious criminal offence. Have any proof of that? Have you reported it to the appropriate authorities?

      Or are you just a keyboard hero bashing out baseless accusations and hiding behind internet anonimity?

  • QBNY

    Might be a good read. It’s got my attention. Yakuza, diverted Funds, it’s like a movie, but for Realz.

    • Miroslav

      Movie is the next step :). He could be played by Kevin Spacey!

      • I think John Malkovich would be perfect. He has a surprisingly similar demented visage. :-P

  • Daemonius

    Hm, Im ok with him uncovering some shady things. Im not so ok with taking multi-millions from company that pretty much dont have money to spare. Also throwing management over cliff was at place.

    I wouldnt say anything to reasonable compensation.. multi-million really isnt.

    • bilgy_no1

      What is reasonable? This man had just started a job as CEO of a decent sized multinational. He is also still a relatively young executive at 52 years old. He could have expected to make a very decent living for some years to come, plus some incentive pay in case he would have managed the company well.

      Not only has this perspective been slashed, he will also have a lot of difficulty finding a new job at a similar level. And all of this because of fraud that happened outside of his control.

  • Face

    What a whining little girl.

  • Incessant Troll

    the people trashing woodford are the same people who would be happy to pay $100 for a lens hood made out of a material that is recycled around the world every single day, “if the performance is there”

    • Yep.

      This Guy was trying to run a company right and when he found that they were “Displacing” money, he was fired. My do people have short memory.

      http://www.engadget.com/2012/05/30/olympus-settlement-ex-chief-exec-michael-woodford/

      He tried to right the ship, when they (Olympus Execs) felt he was “Rocking the Boat”….

      IBIS and Sony Sensors made y’all Blind.

      • SteveO

        I think it will make a good read on a scandal based corporate melt-down that at the time was very much a cliff-hanger. People do have very short memories; for Woodford to have taken on the board as directly as he did was both courageous and unusual in this day, especially given that this took place in the incredibly ingrown and closed world of Japanese corporate culture.

        The true facts of the matter as they relate to malfeance and possible involvement of organized crime, the Yakuza also being a very real part of Japanese corporate culture, will likely never be fully revealed. Not how it works there, rather it’s a slap on the wrist with a fine and no jail-time and then back to life behind the corporate smokescreen.

        Hey, we do the same thing in the west. Take a look at how many Wall Street crooks who brought on the 2008 melt down are now behind bars; well maybe bars in exclusive island resorts, that is.

        • Sho-Bud

          No, when he found out he tried to blackmail Olympus and keep silent if he was giving the top position of the company. Only when Olympus didn’t agree he became the “whistleblower”.
          Just an ordinary crook like so many…..

          • Llamaman

            Aah, more unsubstantiated claims paraded as “fact” by a faceless internet speculator.

            What “top position”? He was already CEO when he blew the whistle. That meant he ran the day-to-day operations. The only step-up would be to become Chairman, and thus able to dismiss the Directors. And that would have been a good thing, surely?

  • Preorders for a book that Woodford hasn’t written yet. Because Oly isn’t out of the water yet, perhaps he can write a chapter at a time, sell an online subscription, and update it to the point that Oly rebounds with full frame sensors, amazing stills and video, and cameras that knock Red and Canon off the shelves.

    • Who says the book isn’t written yet? Maybe the publisher wants to gauge interest via preorders? Don’t people here frequently preorder cameras and lenses that are not yet in stock? ;-)

      • OM-4

        Preorder?
        Nah, wait for the Special Edition with black hard cover(up).

        • Miroslav

          Yeah, while hard silver covers will be available immediately for additional 30 USD ;).

      • Miroslav

        If it was a book on Panasonic, it would be available in summer of 2013 only :D.

        • Rep96st

          At least they won’t drop a Black edition a year later at a 35% markup….

  • Did Kikukawa get sent to prison? If I remember correctly, he and four other Olympus employees, Mori and Yamada – the other two escape (!) me at the moment, were facing up to 10 years in prison for convictions for fraud, falsification of financial statements or aggravated breach of trust.

  • Garypen

    Famboyism is an emotional illness and a weakness of character.

    • Llamaman

      Agreed. It is characterised by blind devotion to doctrine and slavish loyalty to a corrupt leadership ambivalent to the needs of its supporters. Lack of tolerance of dissenting views and aggressive persecution of heretics – supported by biased selection of facts.

      So I guess its taken the place in people’s lives that previously would have been filled by religion…

  • Admin, not ‘fee’ but ‘fines’ to the Members of the old Board.

    BTW one is in jail, and another committed suicide.

    • @amalric
      The guy who committed suicide was based in India and was entirely unconnected to the affair.

      • Well, how can you tell? It happened at the height of the Olympus affair.

        There is also an American-Japanese banker, a representative of Olympus in the US, who disappeared.

        There must have been a lot more people involved that was ever divulged, or only briefly by Reuters.

        • @amalric
          The Japanese banker that was based in the USA was later found in Hong Kong alive and well but on the run…
          Yes lots more people involved or knew/were complicit but they worked for big banks so won’t be punished

          • Rep96st

            Those Wiley Olympus Yakuza Execs… Next up, battery not included.

  • JP

    If he really had such integrity, then why not collect the money he was owed for wrongful termination and walk away? He knew that he had found something so big he could live the rest of his life off the proceeds. Millions for termination and more for the book. He wrote a book about it, which pretty much shows it wasn’t about integrity, just money.

  • ell

    that’s what happen when the japanese hire a 12yr old woodford.

  • frank

    Woodford is a weasel and a rat. A small man with delusions of grandeur. Why a Japanese company would hire a westerner is beyond me? The only thing western CEOs are good at is running companies into the ground and expect to be compensated for their failure. Woodford is just as bad as all those weasel wall street banker thieves and crooks. Hopefully Olympus and the rest of the Japanese corporate world think twice about allowing a westerner into their corporate ranks.

    • Llamaman

      In light of what the Olympus board were up to, it’s not just Westerners who are thieves and crooks!

    • Dugo

      Too bad Woodford could not single-handedly bankrupt the whole sordid crime den known as “Olympus.” Now, how long before “Olympus” will be simply known as “Sony,” any guesses on that?

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