Livedoor Co. asked an online marriage information company suspected of playing a part in its alleged accounting fraud to provide a fictitious profit of 120 million yen to a Livedoor group company in 2004, a Livedoor e-mail message obtained Tuesday by Kyodo News showed.
The message was written by a Livedoor official around the time Livedoor is suspected of dressing up its financial figures for the year ending in September 2004.
“For the September book-closing, please have CUez Net Co. record these sales as described below,” the internal e-mail message said.
The message demanded online matchmaking firm CUez Net give 520 million yen to Livedoor and 120 million yen to ValueClick Japan Inc., the advertising agency now known as Livedoor Marketing Co.
CUez Net was asked to pay the 120 million yen to ValueClick in the form of fake fees for receiving call center services from the advertising firm from July through September 2004, according to the e-mail.
With the fake sales, sources alleged, ValueClick padded its July-September earnings report in 2004.
In November the same year, ValueClick released financial reports saying that the firm posted a net profit of 53 million yen on sales of 759 million yen, even though it in fact had a net loss of 21 million yen on sales of 654 million yen, according to prosecutors.
On Monday, the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office indicted former Livedoor President Takafumi Horie and three other former executives of the company on charges of spreading false financial information related to the takeover of a publisher in 2004 in violation of the Securities and Exchange Law.
While there has been little outside legal analysis of the Livedoor case and Japanese securities laws are known to be vague and incomplete by Western standards, the media have made the prosecutors’ side of the case well known.
The prosecutors said the four falsely announced in October 2004 that ValueClick would acquire the publisher, MoneyLife Inc., through a stock swap, although the publisher had already been purchased by an investment union that prosecutors allege was under the control of the Livedoor group.
They are also accused of releasing inflated financial figures of ValueClick Japan in November 2004 to raise its stock price. CUez Net is believed to have already been under the control of a Livedoor group-linked investment union when the group announced in September 2004 that it would turn the matchmaking company into a subsidiary through a stock swap.
The prosecutors believe the buyout scheme was designed to boost CUez Net’s stock price.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.