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Sat, Jan 21, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Prosecutors to quiz Livedoor officials over fraud claims

AP , TOKYO

Prosecutors will soon question the top executives of Internet startup Livedoor Co on allegations of securities fraud, media reports said yesterday as the Tokyo Stock Exchange hinted at delisting the company.

The broader Tokyo market ended yesterday's trading flat, wrapping up a turbulent week amid investor anxiety over an investigation into Livedoor, one of Japan's most prominent Internet companies headed by a brash, 33-year-old entrepreneur named Takafumi Horie.

Tokyo Stock Exchange chairman Taizo Nishimuro said the exchange, Asia's biggest, may place Livedoor on a special monitoring post for possible delisting unless the company submitted reports on alleged violations by yesterday's deadline.

The Nihon Keizai, Japan's leading business daily, said prosecutors were preparing to question Horie on allegations he oversaw company takeovers that violated securities laws.

Prosecutors also planned to question the company's chief financial officer, Ryoji Miyauchi, and director Fumito Kumagai later yesterday, Kyodo News agency reported.

The Tokyo prosecutors office would not confirm the report yesterday.

Livedoor's shares lost more than half their value this week. As of 6am GMT, Livedoor shares were quoted at ?336 (US$2.91), down from ?416 the day before. On Monday, it was at ?696.

The NIKKEI 225 index ended little changed at 15,696.69 yesterday, bringing the week's loss to 4.6 percent.

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