One of Japan’s most controversial businessmen, Takafumi Horie, has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail after being found guilty of securities fraud. 2

One of Japan’s most controversial businessmen, Takafumi Horie, has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail after being found guilty of securities fraud.

One of Japan’s most controversial businessmen, Takafumi Horie, has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail after being found guilty of securities fraud.

The 34-year-old was found guilty of falsifying profit figures at the internet company Livedoor, where he used to be chief executive.

Mr Horie shook up Japan’s staid business culture by launching Japan’s first ever hostile bid between listed companies and promoting his flamboyant life-style.

Prosecutors had been seeking a four-year sentence but many analysts said the jail term was severe compared with previous fraud cases.

Other high-profile business leaders have received suspended sentences after pleading guilty but Mr Horie had pleaded not guilty which analysts believe marked him out for a tougher sentence.

He is appealing the ruling and has previously blamed Livedoor’s chief financial officer for the company’s accounting mess. Four other Livedoor executives including the CFO pleaded guilty in the case.

In court Mr Horie’s defence team attempted to portray him as a meek chief executive who relied heavily on advisers. But this clashed with the confident and outspoken approach of a man who published self-help books with titles such as “How To Make 10bn Yen” and “The Easy Way To Build a Money-Making Company”.

Mr Horie must also deal with lawsuits from shareholders over the $5bn (£2.6bn) in market value shed by Livedoor after its offices were raided in January last year. That sparked a sell-off so severe that the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s computer system crashed.

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