• The Associated Press


Disgraced dot-com tycoon Takafumi Horie slammed his conviction and harsh sentence for securities fraud Sunday, insisting he committed no crimes and that he had more than paid for any mistakes by losing his company.

On Friday, Horie was found guilty of masterminding a network of decoy investment funds to illegally manipulate earnings at his Internet startup, and was sentenced to 2 1/2-half years in prison in the biggest white-collar-crime trial Japan has witnessed in years.

“I did not intentionally attempt to pad earnings, and there was no false accounting,” an intent-looking Horie, former president of Livedoor Co., said on a TV Asahi talk show Sunday. “I do not accept the court’s verdict.”

Horie is on bail while he appeals the verdict.

He rejected suggestions from show commentators that he apologize for causing turmoil in Japanese markets. The raid on Livedoor’s offices and Horie’s subsequent arrest in early 2006 sparked a frenzied market selloff that forced the Tokyo Stock Exchange into an embarrassing shutdown because capacity problems.

“I have stepped down as Livedoor president, I lost my position and my salary, and I was incarcerated. I believe I have lived up to my management responsibilities,” he said. “To apologize . . . would be inconsistent with my assertions.”

Horie is both adored and despised in Japan for his brash personality and bold actions. He appeared often on TV, ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Diet and tried to take over a radio broadcaster to gain managerial influence over major broadcaster Fuji Television Network Inc.

He repeatedly asserted his innocence during his intensely watched trial — unusual in a nation where 99 percent of criminal trials end in guilty verdicts and a show of remorse can win lenience.

Prosecutors had demanded a four-year prison term for Horie, even though executives charged with white-collar wrongdoing generally get a suspended sentence and avoid prison in Japan.

Horie’s severe treatment has prompted some to question whether he was punished as much for his open defiance of corporate culture as he was for his wrongdoings.

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