Horie back in court as witness


TOKYO -- Four days after being convicted of fraud, disgraced Japanese dot-com mogul Takafumi Horie was back in court Tuesday to testify as a witness in a separate multibillion-yen insider-trading case.

Released on bail after being sentenced Friday to 2 1/2 years in prison for illegally manipulating earnings at Livedoor Co., the unrepentant Horie testified in the trial of Yoshiaki Murakami that there was no collusion between Livedoor and Murakami's investment fund to buy up shares in Nippon Broadcasting System in September 2004.

Prosecutors assert that the Murakami Fund acquired 1.93 million shares in the radio broadcaster between November 2004 and January 2005 after receiving information from Livedoor that it also was trying to gain a 5% stake in the business.

Murakami's investment fund earned about ¥3 billion ($25.5 million) by selling about 5 million Nippon Broadcasting shares to Livedoor.

Horie similarly attempted a hostile takeover of Japan's largest private broadcaster, Fuji Television Network, sparking concern in the industry that other investors might consider TV stations as appetizing targets of opportunity.

A date for Horie's appeal hearing has not been set. Murakami has pleaded not guilty to insider trading.