Goodbye, Olympus

The New York Times is reporting that investigators are now focusing on what everyone has been saying for weeks: Olympus is being sucked dry by Japanese organized crime.

On October 24 Jake Adelstein at JapanSubculture.com wrote, speculatively:

In year 2008, something happened at Olympus that turned the company from an entity focussed on seven major business areas, into a company completely out of focus, blurred by a total of seventeen business areas, to include real estate, investments, consulting, waste disposal, labor dispatch, and running travel agencies. Igari Toshiro, former prosecutor turned anti-yakuza crusader, who was Japan’s greatest expert on white-collar organized crime aka the keizai yakuza (経済ヤクザ)and many veteran organized crime detectives have stated that one of the first signs that a company has been infiltrated by anti-social forces is a sudden and totally new change in company direction–especially into areas like waste disposal, labor dispatch (temporary staffing), and real estate—all areas where anti-social forces have carved out a large niche for themselves.

 And today, in the New York Times:

 Olympus paid a total of 481 billion yen, or $6.25 billion, through questionable acquisition payments, investments and advisory fees from 2000 to 2009, according to the memo, but only 105 billion yen has been written down or otherwise accounted for in its financial statements. That leaves 376 billion yen, or $4.9 billion, unaccounted for, according to the memo.

The memo says investigators believe that over half of that amount has been channeled to organized crime syndicates, including the country’s largest, the Yamaguchi Gumi. The memo does not make clear whether Olympus knew about those links. But if confirmed by investigators, an association with organized crime could prompt a delisting of Olympus shares from the Tokyo Stock Exchange, under the exchange’s rules.

The memo suggests that Olympus may have been coerced by organized crime syndicates that knew about or helped with previous cover-ups to channel ever-increasing funds out of the company.

The end is here.