Flamboyant former Japanese Internet tycoon leaves jail

Mar 27, 2013

Japan's one-time maverick Internet tycoon Takafumi Horie used Twitter Wednesday to announce his release from prison after serving nearly two years 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 Livedoor saying he planned to hold a news briefing later in the day 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.

The tweet announcing his freedom had been re-tweeted more than 8,700 times by late afternoon.

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

He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail by the in 2007 for falsely reporting a pre-tax profit of five billion yen ($61 million at today's rates) 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.

As he headed to prison that year, Horie sported a Mohawk-style haircut and gave a news conference wearing 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.

In 2004 Horie made headlines when he attempted, unsuccessfully, to take over Osaka's indebted Kintetsu Buffaloes baseball team.

The following year he launched a rare hostile for Nippon Broadcasting System, which had agreed a deal with broadcaster Fuji Television. The attempt failed but led Fuji to take a in Livedoor.

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

Horie was a member of the "Roppongi Hills tribe", an elite circle of rich young entrepreneurs who worked and played in a glitzy modern residential and business complex towering over central Tokyo.

He dated leading actresses and zoomed around the capital in a Ferrari.

Horie vowed a comeback before heading to jail in 2011, taking his impending sentence in his stride.

"I want to reset my life and then come back," he said at the time.

Explore further: S. Korea prosecutors turn to mobile app for ferry probe

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Japan's brash Livedoor tycoon heads to jail

Jun 20, 2011

Sporting a mohican haircut and a protest T-shirt, Japan's maverick Internet tycoon Takafumi Horie on Monday started a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence for accounting fraud.

Japan Livedoor tycoon Horie to be jailed

Apr 26, 2011

Japan's brash Livedoor Internet tycoon Takafumi Horie will be jailed after losing his final appeal against a conviction for accounting fraud, a judicial official said Tuesday.

Twitter CEO celebrates dramatic growth in Japan

Jul 23, 2010

(AP) -- Twitter Chief Executive Evan Williams celebrated the dramatic growth of the microblogging service he co-founded at a dinner event Friday with 500 Japanese fans and promised to learn from them.

Recommended for you

Four questions about missing Malaysian plane answered

Apr 19, 2014

Travelers at Asian airports have asked questions about the March 8 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Here are some of them, followed by answers.

Under some LED bulbs whites aren't 'whiter than white'

Apr 18, 2014

For years, companies have been adding whiteners to laundry detergent, paints, plastics, paper and fabrics to make whites look "whiter than white," but now, with a switch away from incandescent and fluorescent lighting, different ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Students take clot-buster for a spin

(Phys.org) —In the hands of some Rice University senior engineering students, a fishing rod is more than what it seems. For them, it's a way to help destroy blood clots that threaten lives.

Finnish inventor rethinks design of the axe

(Phys.org) —Finnish inventor Heikki Kärnä is the man behind the Vipukirves Leveraxe, which is a precision tool for splitting firewood. He designed the tool to make the job easier and more efficient, with ...

First steps towards "Experimental Literature 2.0"

As part of a student's thesis, the Laboratory of Digital Humanities at EPFL has developed an application that aims at rearranging literary works by changing their chapter order. "The human simulation" a saga ...