The verdict came in this morning from Japan. Former Livedoor CEO Takafumi Horie has been found guilty of securities fraud and sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison. His defense team immediately appealed the decision.
Throughout the trial, Horie, who pleaded not guilty, claimed that he had been framed. The trial, which began in September, has drawn major Japanese media coverage due to Horie’s celebrity as a maverick Internet mogul whose exploits include the attempted takeover of one of Japan’s largest TV networks and a failed run for Parliament. Horie claimed the prosecution was hounding him because of his celebrity status.
According to Chief Judge Toshiyuki Kosaka, Horie was the mastermind behind a massive conspiracy to defraud shareholders by manipulating the stock prices of the Livedoor internet conglomerate through a series of fake buyouts.
“Although you may have been found guilty, it doesn’t mean that everything about you has been condemned,” Judge Kosaka told Horie, as reported by the Associated Press. The judge then referred to a letter he had received from the parent of a handicapped child who was inspired by the way Horie, a university dropout, became one of the richest men in Japan. “I want you to make up for what you’ve done and start your life anew,” Kosaka added.
Prosecutors sought a 4-year sentence for Horie. 3,600 investors have also filed civil suits against Horie and Livedoor hoping to recoup losses, saying they were tricked into buying inflated shares.