Takafumi Horie, out of prison, starts mobile app firm

A Japanese entrepreneur who founded one of the country’s largest web portals and was a national celebrity before being jailed for securities fraud is now free and has launched a firm to develop smartphone apps.

Takafumi Horie was once a household name in Japan as the outspoken founder and CEO of Livedoor, a popular domestic website. Dubbed “Horiemon” in the press for his similarity to the pudgy animation character Doraemon, he published several best-selling books on business and once ran for political office with the backing of the prime minister.

He attempted a hostile takeover of a large TV station that led to new acquisition laws in Japan, and when his home and company’s offices were raided in 2006 on suspicion of fraud it caused a plunge in the stock market. Many investors who had sunk their life savings into his firm’s shares were subsequently wiped out.

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Takafumi Horie – Japan’s brash dotcom entrepreneur heads to jail

Sporting a mohican haircut and a protest T-shirt, Japan’s maverick internet tycoon Takafumi Horie headed to a Tokyo jail to serve a two-and-a-half-year sentence for accounting fraud.

The flamboyant dotcom entrepreneur – who shook up Japan Inc’s often staid ways with his media-savvy persona and hostile takeover bids – has long insisted he is a victim of the establishment.

Horie, 38, was sentenced by the Tokyo district court in 2007 for falsely reporting a pre-tax profit of five billion yen ($57.83 million at today’s rates) to hide losses at the internet service provider.

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Japan Livedoor tycoon Horie to be jailed

JAPAN’S disgraced Livedoor tycoon Takafumi Horie is to be jailed for accounting fraud after the country’s Supreme Court rejected his appeal, media reports said on Tuesday.

Horie, 38, who founded the once high-flying Internet service provider Livedoor, had appealed against a 2008 ruling by the High Court sentencing him to two years and six months in jail for his involvement in the case.

He was originally convicted by the district court in 2007 for falsely reporting a pre-tax profit of five billion yen (S$75.6 million) to hide actual losses through an elaborately crafted acquisition scheme.

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