Livedoor Co. employees took the start of former President Takafumi Horie’s trial Monday in stride, hinting at the diminished stature of its once iconic founder.

“I think he is a great man, but there is no problem with operations without him,” a Livedoor employee said.

Ever since Horie and other former Livedoor executives were indicted earlier this year on accounting fraud charges, the company’s new president, Kozo Hiramatsu, has been trying to erase the influence of the old management team.

Livedoor has formed a capital and business tieup with Usen Corp., the country’s biggest cable TV company, in an effort to ensure its survival.

Horie “will never return to this company irrespective of the judicial authorities’ decision,” Hiramatsu has said.

Horie, still Livedoor’s top shareholder, has said he has no intention of becoming involved in the company’s management again.

The allegations of accounting fraud hit Livedoor hard, causing its stock to plunge. The Tokyo Stock Exchange delisted the company from the Mothers market for startups in April over the alleged securities law violations.

Livedoor is seeking to rebuild its business under the tieup with Usen, but its future is uncertain, partly because the company itself, which is also under indictment on accounting fraud charges, is facing lawsuits from a large number of shareholders.

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