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February 21, 2012

Olympus Medical Systems Official Dies in India; Police Suspect Suicide

The technology world is expressing grief over the sudden death of a senior executive at Olympus Corp.’s medical equipment unit in India. Several news organizations are reporting that the cause of death was suicide.

Tsutomu Omori, 49, who was identified as the managing director of Olympus Medical Systems, is believed by police to have hanged himself in Gurgaon near Delhi. He was found on Monday, at about 8:30 a.m., local time, by a landscape worker, according to The Times of India. Police suspect he died Sunday night. An autopsy is likely. He lived nearby.

Lal Singh, a Gurgaon police officer told Reuters News Agency, that "it looks like he committed suicide. One of his company executives told us he was depressed for the last two weeks.”

Inside his home, police said they found two notes, one of which read, "I am sorry for bothering you," according to Reuters. Both were handwritten. Nevertheless, The Times of India reported that Omori was recalled as “a strong-willed person, who was unlikely to have taken such a drastic step,” The Times of India reported, based on interviews with former colleagues. The residents of the apartment complex were “shocked to hear about the incident,” according to The Times of India.

The death took place in a park for children. "I went into the children's park in E-Block to trim some shrubs when I noticed a body hanging from the boundary wall. I immediately informed the security control room," Ram Kumar, the gardener, was quoted by The Times of India.

As of early this week, investigators doubt the death was associated with “a $1.7 billion fraud that has rocked corporate Japan and led to the arrest of senior executives in Tokyo,” Reuters said. Just a few weeks ago, Tokyo police arrested seven executives at Olympus on charges related to accounting fraud, Reuters added.

In December, investigators reported Olympus lost over $1.7 billion in investment dollars due to questionable business practices, according to HealthTechZone. Investigators later searched company offices for evidence.

Ed Silverstein is a HealthTechZone contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf
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