Livedoor founder Horie paroled after 21 months


Japan's one-time maverick Internet tycoon Takafumi Horie used Twitter Wednesday to announce his release from prison after serving one year and nine months of a 2 1/2-year sentence for accounting fraud.

True to form, the flamboyant dotcom entrepreneur used the social networking site to disclose that "I was released on parole at about 7:40 am!"

More tweets followed, with the fallen head of Internet service provider Livedoor saying he planned to hold a news conference on Wednesday night and adding: "Wicked. I'm busy doing business, etc.!"

The University of Tokyo literature dropout became a household name with his entrepreneurial style that broke the rules of corporate Japan and made him a hero to many young people. He has more than 900,000 Twitter followers.

In his heyday, Horie tried to buy a professional baseball team and take over a radio broadcaster to gain influence over media group Fuji Television Network Inc. He also ran for a Diet seat. Although such efforts fizzled out, they spread an image here of his glamour.

Horie, now 40, has long insisted he is a victim of the establishment.

He was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in jail by the Tokyo district court in 2007 for falsely reporting a pre-tax profit of five billion yen to hide losses at his company.

A high court appeal the following year was rejected, and the supreme court upheld his conviction again in 2011.

Livedoor has been integrated into online game and web service firm NHN Japan.

© 2013 AFP

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

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One more crook back in the financial game. If an convicted rapist has to carry a sex offender label I wonder if I will get a warning telling me this guy is trying to sell me some stocks...

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

He was targetted by the old guard. Fact is the type of corporate shenanigans he got up to are pretty common in corporate Japan (see Olympus for just one example)

21 ( +24 / -3 )

This guy is the Japanese version of Donald Trump, such an attention-whore. (Of course even The Donald isn't an ex-con.)

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

" as he left prison, wearing a black T-shirt that read in English “Go to jail.”"

At least he didn't lose his sense of humor.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Or the T-shirt was a typical Japanese Engrish one......

0 ( +2 / -2 )

all i can say is stay away from any business ventures this guy starts up, once a crook, always a crook.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

i hear he still has a pad in roppongi hills and a wad of yen left. he didn't lose his shirt like the hundreds of people who invested their life savings in his stock.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Only thing I like about Livedoor is their mapping/navigation service. It is pretty gosh darn cool.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Do the commenters here know what he was accused of?

One of the subsidiaries of Livedoor was an investment company and it sold stocks of another subsidiary to a third party. The sale was recorded in sales figures of the investment subsidiary and the number went into the sales figure of the consolidated sales of Livedoor. The deal was fully disclosed to and approved by the accountants of the company. But prosecutors accused that it is manipulation of sales figures and argued that only the net profit of the stock deal should be recorded in financial statements. Even though the bottom line does not change at all either way, court found Horie guilty and sent him to jail. I do not think he did anything wrong.

There is a Japanese marketing word "Layer B" which means people who are easily influenced by impression that mass media produce, who are major target of mass marketing.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

The only thing Horie did wrong was to refuse to 'play the game' the way to old fogies do. Instead, he mocked the traditional business customs and for his sins he was smacked down. Any investors who lost money as a result of his conviction should blame the government, not Horie.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

As he left prison, Horie wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “Go to Jail” from the Monopoly board game. It also listed failed big companies whose executives were not imprisoned.

It's one thing to lead a failed company. It's another to commit accounting fraud or similiar financial shenanigans. (Yeah, I'm looking at you, Olympus, Yusen Logistics, K Line Logistics, AIJ, Nomura Group, Daio Paper...)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It could be off topic, but he weighs only 66kg now. When he entered prison, he weighed 95.7 kg.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Horie: "I'm busy doing business"

Legal business, I hope.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This guy is awesome!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I remember this guy from his heyday here in Japan. What a jerk, he was and still is the epitome of a computer geek and was constantly antagonizing the old guard. Unfortunately he brought down quite a few bright young entrepreneurs in the process. The window dressing scheme exposed his bad side and him and others paid for it. Of course there was the one gold digger talent that went after him, but broke loose once she found out he was corrupt and would eventually go down.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Went into prison a somebody, comes out a nobody. Next...

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I hope he exposes all the contradictions in his sentencing compared to all the let-offs some of the pillars of the Japanese establishment have enjoyed. Though, this being a looking glass country, I wonder if that might violate his parole conditions.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The nail that sticks out

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This guy ruffled the feathers of Japan's establishment, good on him. He did what every company in Japan has done for decades, and continues to this day, but he exposed the old guard's schemes for everyone to see. Then he paid the price. Any talented people working for him who didn't stash cash for a rainy day, must not have been that talented. Say what you want but the guy was a catalyst for small business, and made people take an interest in big business. I would like to see him make a comeback.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Glad to see him out!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

just a cheap copy of markS of ubuntu(cannonnical)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Horie looks sick. As CrazyJoe noted he is now just 66kg. Does he have the "big C"?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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