Toshiba says hit with $1.36b in lawsuits over 2015 scandal

Toshiba is said to have been hit with two dozen lawsuits demanding a total of 108.4 billion yen (S$1.36 billion) in damages from a 2015 scandal. PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - Toshiba said on Tuesday (June 13) it is had been hit with two dozen lawsuits demanding a total of 108.4 billion yen (S$1.36 billion) in damages from a 2015 profit-padding scandal that badly damaged its reputation and shredded its share price.

The eye-popping total was revealed in a statement to announce a new lawsuit had been filed against one of Japan's best-known companies totalling 43.9 billion yen ($399 million).

Including the latest action filed this week, Toshiba said it was facing 26 separate legal claims for a total of 108.4 billion yen.

The lawsuits involve both individuals and institutional investors, including Japan's national pension fund, the world's biggest.

They are seeking damages after Toshiba's share price tanked some 40 per cent in the wake of the revelations two years ago that top executives had pressured underlings to cover up weak results after the 2008 global financial crisis.

Best known for televisions and electronics, Toshiba's vast business was dented by the worldwide crisis, while the 2011 Fukushima disaster squashed demand for atomic power at home in a big blow to the firm's key nuclear division.

Top executives complained of "shameful results" that could not be made public, and a company-hired panel in 2015 found they masterminded a years-long scheme to hide the poor earnings.

It sparked the resignation of Toshiba's president and a string of other top executives.

Some of the lawsuits have gone to trial but not have resulted in a ruling so far, a company spokesman said Tuesday.

Toshiba is also facing separate woes linked to massive losses and financial misconduct claims at its troubled US nuclear unit Westinghouse Electric, which is sitting in bankruptcy protection.

Troubled Toshiba has delayed publishing its earnings three times since January and warned last month it likely lost 950 billion yen in the just-ended fiscal year.

Fears are growing about Toshiba's survival, as it tries to sell its prized memory chip business to raise cash.

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