Former internet mogul Takafumi Horie has been found guilty of securities fraud and sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison. He plans to appeal and was released on bail.
Horie, who set up the Livedoor web company, insists he was framed. He accused prosecutors of targeting him because of his brash, unconventional business style.
Tokyo based business consultant Keith Henry said to some extent, he is a victim of changing times: “The difficulty here is that Japan is in a transition from a principles-based, old-boy network that determines rules and regulations within Japan on a case-by-case basis to something that’s more rules-driven, written in black and white. And Horie, I believe, got caught up in that transition. Without any kind of political backing within politics or within business, he was left alone.”
A lengthy prison term for white collar crime is unusual in Japan; mostly executives receive suspended sentences after pleading guilty and apologising. But a defiant Horie had insisted on his innocence.