• Compiled from wire reports

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Just prior to his arrest in 1989 and amid mounting public criticism of his alleged bribe-paying, Recruit Co. founder Hiromasa Ezoe thought he’d “rather die” than be detained, according to sources close to him.

By that time, Ezoe had almost single-handedly created a massive business empire. It began when he established an advertising agency in 1960. Several of his publications, including housing and employment magazines, became immediate hits. He was further touted as having the Midas touch when it came to business deals.

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