Japan's ex-IT mogul told to pay damages in Livedoor scam

May 21, 2009

A Japanese court on Thursday ordered disgraced dotcom tycoon Takafumi Horie and his aides to pay seven billion yen (74 million dollars) in damages to shareholders in his former firm over a fraud case.

The District Court ruled that the 3,340 investors had suffered losses from a plunge in the of Horie's once high-flying Livedoor after the scandal surfaced in early 2006.

The individual and corporate investors in the suit had sought 23 billion yen in damages from him and the firm's 22 other former executives.

Horie was jailed for two and a half years by the district court in 2007 for falsely reporting a pre-tax profit of five billion yen to hide actual losses through an elaborately crafted acquisition scheme.

In July last year, the Tokyo High Court upheld the sentence, but Horie immediately filed an appeal with the Supreme Court. He has remained free on bail awaiting a decision by the top court.

Horie, now 36, was once the darling of the Japanese media, which portrayed him as a harbinger of a new, rougher style of business in a country known for consensus and playing by the rules.

Despite the disgrace, Horie has remained defiant. In a rare media appearance after his arrest, he accused Japanese prosecutors last April of cooking up the fraud scandal to shoot him down.

(c) 2009 AFP

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