- The Washington Times - Monday, January 23, 2006

TOKYO (AP) — Takafumi Horie, chief executive of Japanese Internet portal Livedoor, was arrested yesterday in connection with securities law violations in a scandal that has caused a week of turmoil in Japan’s stock market, where Mr. Horie had made his fortune.

The investigation into Livedoor spread to Japan’s political sphere yesterday, with politicians questioning Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi about his political support of Mr. Horie, a brash, young entrepreneur who ran for a parliamentary seat last year.

The arrests of Mr. Horie and three other executives culminate a weeklong investigation into Livedoor Co., which began with a surprise raid on its Tokyo headquarters and 33-year-old Mr. Horie’s home last Monday. The probe has sent Tokyo share prices plunging — including Livedoor’s stock — just as global investors had been rushing back to buy Japanese stocks.

Mr. Horie, who has been hailed as a symbol of a new breed of Japanese leaders, has repeatedly denied wrongdoing. He has become a TV celebrity in recent years for his bold buyouts and for challenging Japan’s stodgy business elite.

“I have no recollection on any of the allegations. That’s the situation,” Mr. Horie wrote in his Web log over the weekend.

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