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Former Livedoor Co. President Takafumi Horie has filed a defamation suit over a weekly magazine article hinting he was engaged in gambling, according to a court hearing held Wednesday.

In the suit filed with the Tokyo District Court, the 34-year-old Horie is seeking 50 million yen in damages from specified parties, including Kodansha Ltd., the publisher of the weekly Shukan Gendai, and is demanding publication of an apology.

Kodansha stood by the article, declaring it to be true.

According to Horie’s complaint, the magazine’s Sept. 16, 2006, edition carried an article about a high-class, underground casino that Horie and other wealthy people living in the Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills luxury skyscraper condo-office complex were indulging in.

The article hinted that Horie was engaged in baccarat gambling at a luxury hotel in November 2005, it said.

Horie’s counsel called the article “completely groundless” and said, “It created the wrong impression for readers that he is a criminal involved in gambling. It compromised his reputation and severely deteriorated his social standing.”

Horie, one of Japan’s most high-profile entrepreneurs, is currently appealing a prison sentence handed down against him in March for involvement in accounting fraud and other securities law breaches.

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