More murk at Olympus


The bigwigs at Olympus were probably hoping that the investigation they commissioned into the case of higher-than-expected payments to merger brokers would uncover a sloppy but somehow explicable chain of miserable accounting practices and they’d be able to restore a bit of stability to the company and reclaim some of the millions it has lost in share prices since Michael Woodford was sacked in early October. But oh no. Instead it would seem that piles and piles of bloodied linen are about to be laundered very publicly.

Not only does Olympus have to contend with dodgy dealings with Cayman Islands-based companies, rumours of Yakuza involvement in the business, a revolving door of presidents and chairmen, and plummeting share prices, but it could well face being delisted from the Japanese stock exchange, too.

It looks as if Olympus might’ve been concealing losses it had accrued on securities investments by covering them with funds from previous acquisitions. And it might’ve been going on for over 20 years.

Vice President Hisashi Mori has been dismissed following these revelations, and President Shuichi Takayama – who only stepped into the post at the end of October after Tsuyoshi Kikukawa stepped down – has been very quick to place the blame on his predecessor, on Mori, and Hideo Yamada, the firm’s auditor. Well, he has to do something; this doesn’t look good at all for Olympus. Its share prices have taken another dive (so they’re down about 70% since Woodford was kicked out) and the speculation about the future of the company is rife. Not good; not good at all.

(There’s more on the BBC and the Financial Times.)

Winners of Street Photography Now

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In October 2010, the Photographers’ Gallery and the authors of Street photography Now, Sophie Howarth and Stephen McLaren, launched a 52 week street photography project. The idea behind it was to get photographers from across the world back on the street and documenting life around them. Each week there was a challenge and photos were submitted to a Flickr pool. Although it wasn’t intended to be a competition, the two people who were deemed to have made the biggest contribution to the project have just been awarded with £500 of Thames and Hudson books. And they were…

Jo Paul Wallace and Jack Simon

B side #20

Week 20 (Slow down, the next picture may be very quiet and close), B-side, by Jo Paul Wallace


Week 48 (Things are what they seem to be, or maybe something else), by Jack Simon

Congratulations both. In addition to their piles of books, both have dedicated galleries of their contributions on the Street Photography Now project website. You can take a look at Jo Paul Wallace’s here and Jack Simon’s here.

Pictures for the neat and orderly

Matches from world travels

If you’re even ever so slightly OCD and like things organised just-so (my kitchen cupboards are an homage to this), the collection of photos at Things Organized Neatly will sate your desire for straight lines, neat piles, and perfectly formed boxes.

Austin Radcliffe, who runs Things Organized Neatly, thinks of himself its curator. Some of the photos are his, but many are found or submitted by other followers. None is available to buy, which is a pity because some would make terrific postcards.

My favourite happens to be the radial carrots, but go take a look for yourself and let me know what you think.

(Headsup to The Guardian.)