Livedoor boss facing new charge

Japanese internet firm Livedoor’s former boss and other executives could be charged with falsifying financial results this week, reports have said.

Prosecutors claim the group doctored accounts to show a 5.3bn yen ($44.7m) profit for 2003/4 rather than a loss.

Takafumi Horie and four executives will be indicted on Tuesday, the Nihon Keizai and Yomiuri newspapers said.

Mr Horie, who has been in custody since 23 January, is already facing charges of breaking securities laws.

He and three of the four other executives are accused of spreading false financial information about a takeover in 2004.

They are also accused of inflating the financial figures of a subsidiary firm.

Mr Horie, a celebrity in Japan who is known for his critical views of the country’s business establishment, has denied any wrongdoing.

The maximum penalty for breaking securities laws is five years in jail and fines of 5m yen.

Reports of the impending indictments came amid mounting speculation that the company could soon be delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 individual investors in Livedoor, who claim to have lost a combined 5.2bn yen, have formed the Livedoor Victims’ Association in an effort to seek compensation from the firm.

Members of the group held a meeting in Tokyo on Saturday.

They have warned that if they cannot reach an amicable agreement with the firm they will consider taking legal action.

Livedoor’s shares have lost almost 90% since the investigation began.

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