Apple display-maker executive fired for embezzling millions of dollars

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Apple display maker exec fired for embezzling millions of dollars
Japan Display makes LCD screens for the iPhone.
Photo: Kristal Chan/Cult of Mac

Apple display-maker Japan Display may be struggling — but one of its executives apparently hasn’t been. The firm revealed today that it fired an accounting executive last year for allegedly embezzling $5.3 million over four years.

Japan Display is now cooperating with police in a criminal investigation of the unnamed employee.

According to a news report, the exec defrauded Japan Display of around 578 million yen. This took place between July 2014 and October 2018. The employee arranged payments to be made to a fictitious company.

News of financial fraud couldn’t come at a worse time for Japan Display. The company still owes Apple almost $900 million for a smartphone display plant built four years ago. Apple has agreed to slow the pace of expected repayments since Japan Display is struggling.

New problems for Japan Display

Japan Display is desperately scrambling to raise money. Apple also agreed to pay up to $200 million as part of a bailout to keep the company afloat. It is additionally paying money it owes in shorter increments for cash flow.

Any company can have problems with dishonest employees. But the fact that this alleged fraud was able to continue for as long as it did will certainly have people asking questions.

Japan Display was set up as a joint venture by Sony, Toshiba and Hitachi in 2012. At one point, it was one of Apple’s biggest display manufacturers. However, the fact that it lagged behind on OLED technology means that today it provides only LCD iPhone screens to Apple.

Source: Reuters