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Ousted Olympus CEO Woodford to return to Japan next Wed

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Nothing bad is going to happen to Woodford in Japan. This case has drawn way too much international attention. As much as people would love to imagine that he is walking around with a target sign painted on his back, if anything detrimental were happen to him, it would kill any chance of Olympus surviving, and show the world an incredibly frightening version of "how Japan does business". The govenment (Noda) has stated that this scadal has shaken confidence in Japanese corporations operating on the international stage, so Woodford is hands off. He'll appear on the news enterring the country at Narita, meet the police, give a few interviews (maybe), eat, do some shopping, and buy some omiyage (perhaps from Casio or Nikon).

17 ( +16 / -0 )

timtak, don't you perhaps think that the board members who actually committed the fraud should be the ones apologizing? If any employees lose their jobs it will be entirely their fault and definitely not that of Mr. Woodford.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

If you think this Woodford fellow is responsible for the troubles plaguing Olympus, you have some serious issues yourself. And the Japanese posters here who are blinded by nationalism and see this as an attack on Japan by foreigners with sinister designs, rather than seeing this as the crime it apparently is, Tojo is dead, fools.

You can berate this Woodford for all you like, but it is really very simple. Mr. Woodford didn't cook the books, the management of Olympus did. For a staggering 20 years. Woodford wasn't even the initial whistle blower. He was attended to these unsavory practices by another person involved with the company, most likely a Japanese person. Woodford then merely checked if there was any truth to these allegations and subsequently discovered fraudulent practises: Olympus hid their losses from their stockholders, more or less the owners of Olympus, who might otherwise have jumped ship. Basically they made it look like it was a good idea to invest in the company while in truth things weren't that rosy. That is fraud and that is a crime, whether you do it in Japan or any other developed country. And what was this Kikukawa thinking anyway other than "urusai gaijin da naa!" You bring in a person with a 30 year career in the company, appoint him President, merely President of course and then basically fire him after just a couple of weeks on the job due to "cultural differences"? People are going to ask questions you know. Kikukawa even got a chance to allow the company to redeem itself quietly by resigning, but instead he became all belligerent like an adolescent. It seems more like Kikukawa felt stepped on his toes and let his ego run amok. If I got fired for being sincere, I wouldn't go quietly either. What if Woodford had gone quietly and this case would have come to light afterwards? It might not have looked good for him as the former President. He might have faced arrest for not blowing the whistle, like an accessory to the crime. As I see it, Woodford it seems, was the only person with hinkaku, which is a nice sounding word for Mumbo Jumbo and some Japanese fondly refer to as something a foreigner can never possess. Being dignified, sincere and just plain honest. It seems Mr Kikukawa at least is seriously lacking any hinkaku.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

My first thought on seeing this was "oh they'll arrest him and hold him in Japan on charges of invasion of privacy or leaking private information" or some such jumped up charge. Good luck to him though, I hope he succeeds. As posted above, the media should not have released his arrival date... Next they'll probably show his hotel so everyone knows where he's staying.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

@NetNinja, "the fog of war, the stage is set"

I just can't see institutional investors taking up arms and attacking Woodford as he gets off the plane. We're talking about a bunch of old men in suits, mostly. Are the insurance companies and banks going to turn loose their OLs to go on a manhunt for Woodford? Only in your imagination.

The only way your scenario would make sense would be if there is a boryokudan/gangster angle, but that hasn't been reported in this case. It's just good old normal corporate accounting fraud.

If Woodford is married, have his wife take some martial arts classes. Think Wendi Deng deflecting a creme pie from the shiny dome of husband Rupert Murdoch after his company's valuation lost billions earlier this year. Good security at minimal expense.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I am sure Mr Woodford will need 24/7 protection from the NInja hired by Olympus to take care of him or from the Yakuza(Black Rain, etc). Lets just hope his Ninja are better than the guys ones hired by Olympus.

Looks like some posters are stuck in 70's Ninja, etc movies.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Timtak:

a crime that, until then, had no victims.

Is this so difficult to see?

The victims where the shareholders, who invested the money that was channeled into the wrong places.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

timtak, are you being deliberately obtuse? Can you really not see the difference between committing fraud and reporting it? The Olympus board destroyed over $1 billion in shareholder value through shady deals to try and cover their bad investments. You defend this while atacking Mr. Woodford for trying to discover the truth and protect the shareholders. What a strange viewpoint you have.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

^^^ lol I hope he receives a heroes welcome./sarcasm. but seriously, best of luck to him. a brave man, he could have just shut up and collected his millions. he took the hard road.

2 ( +3 / -2 )

Think the board was more concerned about loss of face and the share holders rather than the workers. But maybe they did show concern, overtime, maternity leave, annual holidays, ensuring a good working environment. I shall try to discover if Olympus did any of this out of concern for their workers! They had contacts in the Caymans, maybe a company resort?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

or tens of thousands of employees he will have put out of work, to the families and lives that he will have destroyed, through his upright, sterlng honesty.

timtak -- there you go again critisizing the one guy who had any sense of a moral compass in the whole of Olympus management for not being willing to perpetuate a crime. And, because in classic Japanese Inc. "logic" , doing so would have protected jobs. Amazing. So, the ends would justify the means, right? Is that how corporate Japan now defines honor?

Beware this crybaby Mr. promoter he hates to be contradicted. What a brazen guy!

issa -- as opposed to the criminal, crybaby board of directors who lost about $1 billion of the shareholders money and then committed fraud to cover up their incompetence. All the while collecting large salaries and perks -- again paid with shareholder funds. And then told bold-faced lies to the press ansd authorities in an attempt to cover their tracks. And you call him "brazen"?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

timtak,

Seriously you need to learn the difference between doing good for your company & covering ones sorry BUTT!

We still have to chase the money trail from the Caymans on, you can bet it went somewhere, find out where & maybe we can find out just WHOSE losses were being repaid. For this to have been done under the cover of fraud leads me to lean towards some unsavory characters likely being involved who dont let losses run their natural course.

My $$ is organized crime is likely involved to at least some extent, because well, organised crime is pretty much into everything in Japan so seems logical to me.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The only way your scenario would make sense would be if there is a boryokudan/gangster angle, but that hasn't been reported in this case.

Woodford himself has said the Yakuza are involved on interviews with Reuters.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

gogogo.

Why should he get arrested? Explain in details the charges, etc. Japan goverment = Olympus, etc. Some of the crack-pot theories posted here, Hollywood couldn't think up and rival anything else.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As Noda said, they need to fix this situation. Nothing is going to happen to that man. If anything did happen to him it would be a terrible blow to JP, specially in today political and economical climate.

Hope they get to the bottom of it. My only concern will be how forthcoming will the company be and will the Gov. be forthcoming if any of this connects with general bad business regulations and practices in JP.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The only way your scenario would make sense would be if there is a boryokudan/gangster angle, but that hasn't been reported in this case.

Of course there's a gangster angle. The company that received the hundred-billion-yen payoff has been strongly intimated in the Japanese press as having gangster ties. The J-media are just too cowardly to come out and say it.

He will be safe because the police would be embarassed if anything happened to him, and the j-mafia is wary about directly embarassing the cops like that. The j-mafia will lay off. It's called professional courtesy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

let's see, multinational company with offices around the world, stock traded on the TSE, NYSE and LSE gets caught redhanded by former CEO for committing fraud in the UK, the US and in the Caribbean. Said company is currently being investigated by UK, US, Japanese and Interpol police agencies. If said ex CEO is killed while in Tokyo to discuss the matter with the J police and the J govt that would sound the death knell for the company and cause all these agencies to file warrants for the arrest and extradition of the board, the major shareholders, current and former Presidents and CEO's, the shutting down of all overseas offices and confiscation of documents and bank accounts.

The UK, given that Woodward as a British citizen and former CEO of a major Japanese company would not rest until all the evidence was dragged out into the open, everyone involved was thoroughly tarred and exposed and blame was heaped on every Japanese regulatory agency that had oversight. The fallout would destroy the government, gut the bureaucracy and cause billions if not trillions of dollars worth of contracts of companies associated with Olympus to be put under the scrutiny of the regulators.

Could these people be that stupid?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Mr woodford, in the first instance brought his discovery of malpractice to the attention of his superiors. A correct line of procedure.Instead of rectifying the situation with a full internal investigation, the executives decided it was in their own best interests to fire the bearer of bad tidings.This decision rather then covering up the possible fraud, instead brought it by the ensueing publicity into the public domain and to the attention of the relevant authorities. Mr woodford is not responsible for the resulting consequence, but those who chose to deceive the public and the shareholders are

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Bad news won't go away just by getting rid of the messenger. Woodford did the right thing, the shareholders value was dropped two decades ago. Not protecting the shareholder's interests is in no way good for the company.

Lying about "a job well done" when it was anything but, AND collecting bonuses and payrises for it, is nothing but completey selfish act.

There is nobody the board of directors did NOT betray.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan seems to be anti-foreign with no rule of law. Only loyalty and custom rules. Even if Woodford returns the rank and file at Olympus still loyal to the ex-chairman and corrupt board of directors will sabotage Woodford. What's the point of coming back to Japan to have his reputation tarnished? Nissan's foreign CEO was different. At least a foreign company owned enough shares to put a good and fair CEO in charge. Perhaps Sony too should be investigated. Why put Stringer in charge? He has being struggling from day one.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nissan's CEO was given the power to make changes for the best of the company and the employees since a foreign company owned most of the shares. At Sony and Olympus given a foreign CEO the power is just show.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

realj,

he is coming to speak with J-authorities investingating a massive fraud, thats why, he is cooperating, unlike the mgmt of olympus who perpetuated fraud for 2decades

1 ( +1 / -0 )

all the best of luck to him.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

His biggest threat will be from the Japanese police.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

For those geniuses complaining about announcing the date of Woodford's return (Wed), how do any of you know that it's really not Mon or Tuesday, and that you, too, have been faked out?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

eat, do some shopping, and buy some omiyage (perhaps from Casio or Nikon).

that is funny :-)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan should have a department like the Serious Fraud Office (SRO) in UK, where whistleblowers can readily access to report suspected fraud and corruption in their place of work.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Apologies to the workers? That is the corrupt Boards Job surly, they committed 20 years of crime that directly affected the diligent workers. Mr Woodford did nothing but ask an uncomfortable series of questions culturally insensitive perhaps but he was the CEO. I would not be surprised if he is interviewed more about his actions than about Olympus. Think he is mad returning as it all could have been done via video. As for a Serious Fraud Office in Japan, The Prosecutors office has proven to be sloppy, there still is no Detective school. Nor a culture of evidence gathering, it's all obout the confesion. Long way from an SFO stage, company power would not have it anyway.Remember this crime has been going on for 20years and it took 1 man to call it out. Where were all the people who's job it was to check and balance? There names should be included in any story about this.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This would be a "coming out" for Mr. Woodford.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Wow, that is something I didn´t expect! Good for the shareholders, good for Japans image. Will be interesting to see how he is received at the company.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Olypus should be flying him back here first class.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The plot thickens; the NY Times reported on the possibility of a missing $4.9 billion Olympus money and that much of it went to organized crime groups. Take care Mr. Woodford. Please take very good care.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Have any Olympus workers lost their jobs over this yet?

Have any factories closed down?

Other than the 3 execs who resigned, none.

Michael Woodford is still employed as a Director Olympus, albeit non-executive director.

Business is going on as usual, it is just the shareholder value and reputation that have been affected.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Yaks have their money, they can move on to the next target now that they bleed Olympus dry. They do ot care about the gaijin angle. The parasite is smartest when it does not kill the host, not the story this time however. They made the big score and now the company will likely collapse.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When he returns there, I bet you can cut the tension with a knife....I hope it will not be Mr. Woodford. Good luck to the whistle blower.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

it seems his safety has been assured by FBI, UK and Japan. welcome and good luck (though chances of success are very slim)

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

I ain't no genius poppet, I hope we've been faked but I doubt it. We are talking about a country where a police raid is announced days before it happens and the media camping out waiting for their arrival. Even with my limited mental ability I think he'll arrive on wed as reported.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Bugger, I agree with you when this sort of thing is in the clumsy hands of the J-cops, but it was the Financial Times that reported his arrival date. So hopefully we'll be pleasantly surprised.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The Financial Times reported that Woodford will visit Japan for the first time since he returned to Britain after he was fired as Olympus president on Oct 14. He will meet Japanese police, prosecutors and regulatory agencies probing the case.

I agreed with NetNinja. Mr. Woodford needs 24/7 protection . .

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Some real haters on here, voting down comments of "i hope he has protection"...

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Why should he get arrested? Explain in details the charges, etc. Japan goverment = Olympus, etc. Some of the crack-pot theories posted here, Hollywood couldn't think up and rival anything else.

I personally don't think he will, but I wouldn't put it past the system and weird JP laws to somehow lay charges on Woodford for being the CEO at the time.... I hope this is not the case and it's all good for Woodford.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

He is viewed here as a snitch and a pariah

Ah, the convenient passive tense! No wonder the Japanese are in love with it! Viewed by who? According to who? Probably by Kikukawa, Mori and Yamada, yes. Quite probably by those members of the Yamaguchi-gumi who are now suspected to have received 50% of the missing millions in the Olympus accounts.

And if it were to be true that this sentiment was widespread, it would speak volumes for Japanese morals, and connexion with reality. Morals because this is crime, corruption and fraud, on a huge scale. Reality because if you do business in a multinational world, you can't expect to run and hide under the skirts of your own country's white-collar crime-tolerant laws and regulations. You're subject to the laws and regulations of whatever countries you do business in. You accept international investment, auditing, because they're a necessity in this globalisated world, you're accountable according to international standards.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

God Bless You Mr Woodford. I hope someday you'll learn that honesty is not the best policy here in Japan.

-2 ( +4 / -7 )

I also hope he doesn't get arrested at the airport because the police see it another way.

I hope he has projection like other people said.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Once again, I'd like to add that my concern for Mr. Woodford's safety is based on my experience and what I've seen in Japan. Any fool with a knife can somehow slip in.

I won't change the topic too much, I remember the day I saw that Aum Shin(something) guy get stabbed on TV. He was in a crowd as well. It was the first time I saw a man get murdered in cold blood. The guy didn't even run, he just dropped the knife.

With that said, I don't want to see that happen to Mr. Woodford. It doesn't have to be a gangster or mafia angle. All it has to be is an individual with enough pent up anger inside him and the loss of his job. Unlike most of us here on JT, not everyone is rooting for the away team (Mr. Woodford). Some people are losing their jobs, money. I can imagine that some of the them still aren't sure why this happened.

It's hard for anybody to imagine this erupted cause one guy's ego was too big to be told to resign. I'm worried about people who feel betrayed and aren't sure where to direct their anger.

Now we know almost exactly when Mr. Woodford will walk through Narita's doors. Dodgy. All it takes is one idiot.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Good luck! Take them down!!!!

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

I want SECURITY for Mr. Woodford. How dare they announce his return like this?? Japan just marked him. How irresponsible of the press and the authorities. I want him to come back, yes, but it should've been more private for his security.

Listen, this man has upset the establishment. A lot of pockets have gotten lighter, people have lost money. That gives more than a few people motive to attack this man. This is the shroud, the fog of war, the stage is set that we might not see it coming if they man is assaulted in any manner.

Very careless. If I were Mr. Woodford, I would not return on this date. Millions and Billions of yen lost, company going down. They seriously need to look out for Mr. Woodford's saftey.

-4 ( +5 / -10 )

He is viewed here as a snitch and a pariah

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Beware this crybaby Mr. promoter he hates to be contradicted. What a brazen guy!

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

While I still believe that the board acted in what they felt to be the best interest of the company, I don't condone crime. I would have board members apologize for any crime committed. But, and please correct me if I am wrong, it took one man to call out a crime that, until then, had no victims. Honesty is good. The livelihood of 40,000 workers is important too. I think that the board may have put those workers before honesty.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Most posters seems to be thinking that the board were motivated out of self-interest, and that Mr. Woodford was not. I am not aware of good reasons why one would come to that conclusion, and it seems to me that the reverse could also be true.

I hope that no workers loose their job, no factories close down, and that if the share price continues at this level, Mr. Woodford expresses at least sincere regret.

If the share price stays at about this level it will be very difficult for him to persuade anyone that he acted in the best interests of his company, the worth of which has been drastically reduced, but, perhaps he will be able to pursuade those that lost their savings, that it was for the greater good of society that he told the media about the accounting malpractice that his colleagues were perpetrating.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

I hope he is well protected too. And I hope someone can turn Olympus around, but if they can't I hope Mr. Woodford apologies to the thousands, or tens of thousands of employees he will have put out of work, to the families and lives that he will have destroyed, through his upright, sterlng honesty.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

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