By Simon Basketter
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Toshiba fixed figures to play the system

This article is over 6 years, 6 months old
Issue 2463
Toshibas head office in Japan

Toshiba’s head office in Japan (Pic: Lover of Romance on Wikimedia Commons)


Multinational corporation Toshiba has been plunged into a huge scandal after it overstated operating profits by about £780 million.

The Japanese industrial conglomerate makes laptops, memory chips and nuclear reactors.

The company saw a drop in sales from £36 billion to £25 billion after the financial crisis and the Fukushima nuclear disaster. 

But it kept its profits high by fixing the figures.

It is the worst accounting scandal since 2011. Then Olympus, the camera and medical equipment maker, was found to have covered up over £1 billion losses. 

According to the auditors, “There existed a corporate culture at Toshiba where it was impossible to go against the boss’s will.” 

Their report highlighted “a systematic involvement including by top management” and “a deliberate attempt to inflate the appearance of net profit”.

It found no evidence that any of the firm’s chief executives had given specific instructions to inflate profit figures.

But the logic of the system is to keep profits high and costs low.

And that means that there is little need for bosses to issue specific instructions.

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