Former Livedoor boss freed

Horie posts $2.6 million bail, still faces charges

HONG KONG — Takafumi Horie, former president of Japanese Internet services group Livedoor, Thursday left prison where he has been held on securities fraud charges since January.

Earlier in the day he posted bail of Yen300 million ($2.6 million).

Prosecutors attempted to block his release, but by the evening a Tokyo District Court had rejected the claims and Horie was freed immediately.

News reporters waiting outside the prison gates reported that the 33-year-old high-flier with a popstar-like following, was thinner and longer-haired than when he was first incarcerated.

Horie and three former colleagues Ryoji Miyauchi, Fumito Okamoto and Osanari Nakamura, were arrested in January and have been indicted on charges of using stock swaps and stock splits to artificially inflate share prices. They are also charged with giving false information about a subsidiary’s earnings.

Company’s aggressive growth attracted international attention when he circuitously tried to take over broadcaster Fuji TV.

Livedoor’s shares were delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange on April 14, ending six years as a publicly traded company.

In addition to the securities suits against its officers, company could face civil suits from aggrieved shareholders, including Fuji, who suffered serious losses because of the allegedly illegal activities of Horie and other Livedoor execs.

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