A group of Japanese shareholders have filed a lawsuit against disgraced Olympus, demanding $2.9 million for investment losses after a huge accounting scandal depressed the firm's shares.
The 220-million-yen claim was filed Tuesday with the Osaka District Court in western Japan by 38 former and current shareholders, including an institutional investor, their lawyer said in a statement.
It is the first damages case against the camera and endoscope maker in connection with the scandal, according to Masaro Kato, who heads the plaintiffs' legal team.
The shareholders in the case bought Olympus stock before November 7, 2011, prior to the firms' admission it had hidden investment losses, allegations that were first aired by ousted chief executive Michael Woodford in October.
Following his sacking, Woodford launched aggressive international media offensives against his former bosses, questioning the firm's past acquisition deals and the outsized consultant fees it had paid.
His efforts eventually pushed Olympus to admit that a small group of top executives used the overpriced deals to cover up $1.7 billion in losses stemming from bad investments dating back to the 1990s.
But the Briton did not win the backing of Japanese institutional investors and gave up his push to lead the company by ousting the board that sacked him.
Olympus shares closed at 2,482 on October 13, the day before it said it demoted Woodford, the firm's first non-Japanese president, just six months after appointing him and only two weeks after also naming him chief executive.
They closed at 1,034 yen on November 7, before Olympus reversed its earlier denial of Woodford's allegations and admitted that it had hidden losses.
After having plunged to the all-time low of 424 yen on November 11, Olympus closed at 1,288 yen on Tuesday.
The legal team was preparing another set of lawsuits against executives and auditors who were responsible for, or failed to detect, the misdeeds.
Last week, a single Japanese shareholder sued 14 Olympus board members, demanding that they pay the company 1.34 billion yen for costs resulting from Woodford's sacking.
Olympus itself has launched legal action against 19 top current and former executives, including six present board members, among them president Shuichi Takayama, after an independent panel found them responsible for the cover-up.
An Olympus spokeswoman declined to comment on the latest lawsuit, saying the company had yet to review it.