The maverick former head of once-groundbreaking Internet company Livedoor Co. on Tuesday afternoon walked out of the last courtroom with the power to reverse the guilty conviction handed down to him four years earlier as a man out of options and headed to jail. The Supreme Court rejected Mr. Horie’s appeal against a conviction for accounting fraud, sealing a 30-month prison term.
The 38-year-old former head of Livedoor’s case was one of the most infamous financial scandals to erupt in Japan in recent years. While Mr. Horie maintained his innocence throughout the court proceedings, he has made no attempt to hide his tumble from grace. His brief Twitter account biography reads “a former company president that worked in Roppongi,” calling out the Tokyo neighborhood known for its luxuries with warrens of pulsating nightclubs.
It is a notoriety he has used to his advantage. He has accumulated over 687,000 Twitter followers, published books, maintains a blog and a digital magazine which, according to Mr. Horie, includes “stories I can’t discuss on the blog.” The magazine charges a subscription fee of 840 yen, about $10, per month. News of his loss in the courtroom Tuesday dominated search engine searches, mutating into five different trending topics on Twitter Japan.
It didn’t take long for the cyber-maverick to fill his Twitter account with his response – moving on from the initially succinct: “I was rejected.” On Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Horie went on to Tweet he will spend about 2 years, 4 months in jail. (It is expected one month will be knocked off the 30-month sentence for previously time served). If there is a silver lining for Mr. Horie it might be in that he says, with a hint of sarcasm, that he is perhaps sufficiently prepared having gotten corrective eye surgery two weeks ago and a medical check up a week later. And there’s nothing like jailbird opprobrium to help lift sales. Mr. Horie’s book “Horiemon’s Cosmology,” which envisions the next revolution in IT to be in the space business, went on sale on Amazon on April 19.