Exec accused of failing to report 30 billion yen
TOKYO — Takafumi Horie, the disgraced founder of Internet portal Livedoor, which mounted an unsuccessful takeover bid for the giant Fuji TV in 2005, has been slapped with a tax evasion charge.Japanese authorities claimed on Monday that Horie failed to report 30 billion yen ($3.1 million) in taxable income for 2006 and 2007. Horie denied the charges and wrote on his blog that he has filed a revised tax return. Since he has made amends he is unlikely to be brought to court for the charge. Ironically, tax authorities also discovered that Horie had overpaid by $1.03 million for 2005 and he will get a refund for that. Horie, who built Livedoor from a one-man start-up in 1996 to one of the highest fliers on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, was found guilty in March 2007 of conspiring with four other Livedoor execs to falsify profit numbers to boost the company’s stock price, enabling his hostile bid for Fuji TV. Hostile bids were virtually unheard of in Japan at the time and shook the country’s solidly conservative financial business to its foundations. He was sentenced to 2½ years in prison for securities fraud, but is appealing to Japan’s Supreme Court and is currently on bail. In addition to his Fuji takeover bid, Horie drew media attention for failed bids to buy a pro baseball team in 2004 and win a seat in Parliament in 2005. He also wrote best-selling books on how to succeed in business and lived a high-flying, free-spending life as one of the “Roppongi Hills tribe” — a reference to the landmark Tokyo business, entertainment and condo complex that became home to Hori and other entrepreneurs aiming to change Japan’s stodgy business culture.