November 28, 2020

Olympus probe figure heads to Cayman, relative says

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Hajime Sagawa, the Japanese banker whose firms got $687 million in fees as part of Olympus Corp.’s $2.1 billion buyout of Gyrus Group Plc, has left Florida for the Cayman Islands, his brother-in-law said, a month after divorcing his wife and selling her their Boca Raton home for $10.

Sagawa hasn’t made a statement since ousted President Michael Woodford disclosed Tokyo-based Olympus paid fees equal to 36 percent of the value of the 2008 deal to two companies connected with Sagawa. The camera and medical device maker has said the payments were designed in part to hide losses.

“He’s down in the Cayman Islands,” Gary Nevis, Sagawa’s brother-in-law, said in a Dec. 1 telephone interview, citing a conversation he had last week with his sister, Sagawa’s wife.

Criminal investigators in the U.S., U.K. and Japan are probing fees and other payments made by Olympus. Woodford was in New York last week to meet with U.S. prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Sagawa has also met with the FBI, according to the Wall Street Journal. He hasn’t been charged with wrongdoing.

Axes America LLC, a New York-based brokerage that Sagawa operated, served as an adviser to Olympus on the Gyrus deal. Axam Investments Ltd., a Cayman Islands-based fund of which Sagawa was a director, got all but $17 million of the $687 million in fees.

Sagawa’s wife, Ellen Sagawa, is still living in Boca Raton, Florida, in the 7,217 square-foot, canal-front house that the couple co-owned until October. She declined to comment Dec. 4 on her husband’s whereabouts. A 32.6-foot yacht named “Snapper” registered to her was docked behind the home.

Nevis said his sister provided no other details as to her husband’s location. Sagawa’s neighbors in Boca Raton said they had seen Ellen Sagawa in recent days strolling through the neighborhood without her husband.

Sagawa may have been living in the Caymans at an oceanfront condominium along Seven Mile Beach in 2006. According to shipping records, a package was sent under his name to Boca Raton that year from the residence on Snooze Lane. A woman answering the door there yesterday said Sagawa hasn’t been living there since at least February.

Sagawa and his wife filed for divorce in Florida Oct. 31, with Ellen Sagawa retaining $9.9 million of the couple’s assets and Sagawa keeping $1.5 million, according to court records. On Oct. 25, Sagawa transferred the Boca Raton home to his wife for $10, according to real estate records.

Nevis said that his sister last week didn’t mention that the couple had divorced.

“She didn’t mention a divorce or anything like that,” Nevis said. “She didn’t indicate there were problems.”

Herman Moskowitz, a Hollywood, Florida-based accountant who has done work for another Sagawa firm, and Clifford Hark, a lawyer in Palm Beach, Florida, who has also worked for Sagawa, declined to discuss the banker.


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