Maverick Internet tycoon Takafumi Horie, who was jailed for accounting fraud, back in business; Horie said he had got involved in around 30 start-ups since being released from prison three months ago

Japan dotcom jailbird back in business

Horie said he had got involved in around 30 start-ups since being released from prison three months ago. -AFP
Wed, Jun 05, 2013


TOKYO – Maverick Internet tycoon Takafumi Horie, who was jailed for accounting fraud, said Wednesday Japan’s online landscape was prime territory for his aggressive style of business. Horie said he had got involved in around 30 start-ups since being released from prison three months ago, having served nearly two years for hiding losses on the balance sheets of his Internet service provider Livedoor.

“Social media such as Facebook and Line has developed tremendously in the past two years in a way that means I can monetise my intangible human assets and launch various businesses,” the 40-year-old said.

Line is a Japanese-developed instant messaging application for smartphones and PCs. Since appearing just two years ago, it has amassed a reported 100 million users.

“It has become easy for me to do what I want to do because of the way the Internet’s infrastructure has developed,” Horie told the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan.

“I am starting up probably about 30 businesses, some of them are already in place,” he said, citing a rocket development firm and his dream of sending thousands of paying customers into space.

The flamboyant and outspoken Horie was sentenced to 30 months’ jail in 2007 for falsely reporting a pre-tax profit of five billion yen ($50 million at today’s rates) to hide losses at Livedoor.

A high court appeal the following year was rejected, and the supreme court turned him down again in April 2011.

Horie – a Tokyo University graduate who shook up Japan Inc’s often staid ways with his media-savvy persona and hostile takeover bids – has long insisted he was a victim of a hidebound business culture.

He emerged from prison in March weighing 30 kilograms (66 pounds) less and vowing to get back in the saddle.

Horie, who has nearly a million followers on Twitter, told reporters Wednesday that one of his new projects was to use social media to support prisoners seeking rehabilitation after serving their time.

The idea came because social media helped him through the bitter first winter in his unheated cell in the mountains of Nagano, where temperatures dropped to minus 15 degrees centigrade (five degrees Fahrenheit).

“I mentioned the condition in my online magazine,” he said referring to a publication he kept going while behind bars.

“Heating was installed in my second year and I was given one more blanket,” he said.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: