Board members at IT services and hardware firm Fujitsu have admitted to investors that they lied about the departure of former president Kuniaki Nozoe last year, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Executives at the Tokyo-based vendor claimed in September 2009 that Nozoe would be resigning from his post due to illness. But when Nozoe filed a law suit for wrongful dismissal, Fujitsu was forced to reveal that he had been ousted due to alleged ties to an investment fund connected to organised criminal gangs.
The Tokyo Stock Exchange issued Fujitsu with a warning following the incident but said at the time that the company had not deliberately misled investors.
However, in a meeting with shareholders today, a member of the company’s board of auditors conceded that it had lied in order to protect the reputation of the business. "As an auditor I didn’t feel comfortable lying, but it couldn’t be helped," Megumi Yamamuro reportedly said. "It was the kind of lie that grown-ups tell sometimes."
Fujitsu chairman Michiyoshi Mazuka told investors that the board is becoming increasingly anxious about alleged links to yakuza crime syndicates. "We have to be very cautious, even when we hear rumours," he said.