An independent panel headed by a former Supreme Court judge on Tuesday came out with a damning indictment of top executives of Japan's troubled camera-maker, Olympus Corp, and suggested legal action against those involved in the scam.
While the probe committee found no links with organised crime, it did not spare the top management or external auditors for perpetrating a $1.7 billion accounting scandal.
''The core part of management was rotten and the parts around it were also contaminated by the rot,'' the report said. ''In the worst possible sense, the situation was that of the tribal culture of the Japanese salary-man.''
While many investors were relieved that there were no links with organised crime syndicates, the Tokyo Stock Exchange maintained that the company still risks being delisted. Olympus has lost half its market share since October, after Michael Woodford, the then CEO, was sacked by the management for raising concerns about hefty payments made to unknown entities in acquisition deals.
Woodford, a Briton, also dismissed the independent panel report, pointing out that it did not reveal anything new. He also demanded that the entire board of directors quit. The former CEO himself resigned from the board last week, but is planning to take control of the company with his own team.
According to the panel – which was also appointed by the company – former executive vice-president Hisashi Mori and former internal auditor Hideo Yamada had conspired with a few investment bankers, way back in 1998, to conceal investment losses suffered by the company.