Monday, January 23, 2006


Takafumi Horie was busted in Japan for shady financial stuff. I assume his arrogance was a factor that led to his fall.

Takafumi Horie, the brash, T-shirted entrepreneur whose rise captivated Japan and whose fall spooked the Tokyo Stock Exchange, was arrested tonight on suspicion of spreading false financial information to deceive investors.

Prosecutors said Mr. Horie and three other executives of Livedoor Co. who were also arrested tried to pump up share prices by spreading false information, issuing new shares to "acquire" firms already under their control and then selling the companies to create false "profits."

It was a steep fall for the self-made 33-year-old who only last month was telling workers at a company Christmas party that his ambition was to make his Internet-based conglomerate the largest company in the world. A University of Tokyo dropout, Mr. Horie parlayed a 1995 investment of $50,000 into a company that had a $6 billion market capitalization before last week's crash.

A celebrity member of the "Roppong Hills Tribe," so named for the chic high rise complex where fellow Internet entrepreneurs live, work, and play, Mr. Horie frequently appeared on television talk shows, becoming the spokesman for an aggressive, self-assured "New Japan."

After he tried to break Japan's baseball cartel and save a hometown team, the public affectionately nicknamed the chubby businessman Horie-mon, after Doraemon, a cartoon cat. Last August, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi tapped this generational icon to run against a ruling party "dinosaur." The party elder won, but the race further boosted the aura of a business upstart who once said: "All the evils come from aged business managers."
(full article)

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