Internet entrepreneur Takafumi Horie on Sunday accused a former subordinate of making false statements against him in court and said neither had been aware of alleged accounting fraud at Livedoor Co.
Prosecutors claim that Horie, currently on trial, orchestrated a complex scheme of stock sales and splits to inflate Livedoor’s earnings.
Former Chief Financial Officer Ryoji Miyauchi has repeatedly testified in court that Horie directly supervised fraudulent accounting practices. Miyauchi has pleaded guilty to securities law violations in a separate trial.
“Nobody in the company knew that (these practices) might be illegal, even Miyauchi,” Horie said on a TV Asahi talk show, his first television interview since he was arrested in January over alleged securities law violations.
“Mr. Miyauchi wants to get this over as soon as possible, and so is cooperating with prosecutors . . . to come up with false statements,” Horie said.
Horie’s ongoing trial at the Tokyo District Court has drawn intense attention as the country grapples with a new breed of entrepreneurs not afraid to defy established practices through bold takeover bids and other risky maneuvers.
Horie built up his Livedoor empire and considerable fame through numerous acquisitions of smaller rivals, and tried unsuccessfully to buy a baseball team and take over part of a powerful media conglomerate.
The trial has also caused a stir because Horie has pleaded not guilty — a rare move in criminal trials. Many suspects sign confessions in advance, hoping to win lighter sentences.
Several other Livedoor executives are being tried separately over schemes allegedly used to inflate Livedoor’s earnings and falsely boost its stock price. They have admitted being guilty to most of the charges, and have been key prosecution witnesses in Horie’s trial.
Horie’s trial began in early September. A ruling is expected sometime next year.
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