Managers at an Olympus factory in southern China struggled for years to resolve a thorny dispute with local customs authorities. The problem risked incurring millions of dollars in fines and harming a crucial manufacturing hub that churned out 50 million camera lenses a year. Then Olympus found an unlikely helper: an obscure Chinese company that ran the factory’s cafeteria. The caterer had connections. In 2013, Olympus hired the company, Anyuan, to be a fixer, acting as a go-between with government officials in the customs case, according to an internal investigation into the matter. Soon after, the eight-year-old case was inexplicably dropped, and with it demands that Olympus pay at least $9 million in penalties and uncollected import duties.