Monday, January 23, 2006

X-day!

Every nation needs its scandals. Japan, where scandal is a way of life, has decided that it needs a bigger and better version of an American Enron scandal. Enter Livedoor.com.

Livedoor started as an internet e-mail company. I remember meeting an Indian guy working for them, one day on the Narita Express coming back from one of my mis-adventures in Hong Kong. They rapidly became the darling of the Japanese media expanding like Google into other internet enterprises, including web sites and providing a blog host service. ( That probably does not bode well for Google--where the hell did I put that back up disk?).

Japanese prosecutors have said Livedoor is suspected of violating securities laws by spreading false information about stocks, and Japanese media reports say Livedoor is also suspected of covering up losses.

Sound familiar?

A detailed history of the company can be found here.

Today their CEO was arrested on securities fraud charges:

Takafumi Horie

TOKYO, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Prosecutors sought arrest warrants on Monday for Takafumi Horie, CEO of Internet firm Livedoor Co. (4753.T: Quote, Profile, Research) who shook up corporate Japan with his bareknuckles business tactics, and three others, Kyodo news agency reported. A prosecutors' raid on Livedoor a week ago caused chaos on the Tokyo stock market and sent prices plunging across the board. Media reports have said Livedoor spread false information to investors, issued new shares to "acquire" firms already under its control and then sold them for a profit and padded its books. (Reporting by Masayuki Kitano, Reuters Messaging: masayuki.kitano.reuters.com@reuters.net;)


They have had news stories all night long including a special news broadcast explaining how Livedoor manipulated a buyout of another company by inflating the value of stocks of a third company. The S.O. has been riveted to the TV, and for some reason she is really taking particular pleasure in this guy's demise. 100 people killed in Iraq? Does not phase her. Avalanche in Nigata? Barely a passing glance. A pudgy 33 year old Japanese guy getting arrested while stealing his way to fame and fortune? Now THAT gets her really excited. Wish I felt better. Then I could get her to put some of that righteour indignation to some good use. Instead I get to just watch her laugh, again and again. You would think it was her money he took.......

Since the scandal broke about 5 days ago, she has been waiting for what she calls "X-day"; or as she says, "The day that Horie-san would be arrested...".

Me, I just smile and go looking for some real news.

Now that's something worth reading about!

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