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Sat, Dec 23, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Prosecutors demand four years in prison for Horie

AFP , TOKYO

Prosecutors yesterday demanded a four-year prison sentence for Japan's disgraced Internet mogul Takafumi Horie over a scandal that rocked his once high-flying Livedoor firm.

Horie, 34, who riled Japan's corporate old guard with his brash business tactics, has steadfastly insisted on his innocence and called his trial revenge by the establishment.

"In an attempt to give an impression that he did not hold a grip over the group, he told impromptu and irresponsible lies" during the trial, said a statement read by a prosecutor to the court.

Horie quietly listened to the statement while gazing from time to time at the prosecutor, who quoted what Horie said during inquiries in a detention house.

Prosecutors told the court they were seeking four years in prison for Horie, who was once seen as the face of a new Japanese business model.

Horie denied any knowledge of fraud, telling the court last month: "It's not true that I knew everything about the whole group."

Horie has been accused of falsely reporting a pretax profit of ?5 billion (US$43 million) for the year to September 2004 to hide actual losses of ?310 million.

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