TOKYO: Maverick Japanese dotcom mogul Takafumi Horie has been sentenced to a two-and-a-half year jail term for violating securities laws. The five-month trial of the Livedoor founder enthralled corporate Nippon as the erstwhile celebrity entrepreneur was accused then convicted of manipulating earnings.

The case reflects a change in the way Japan polices start-up companies, prompting regulators to adopt a more transparent system of governing business transactions and the capital markets. For many years regulators enforced rules on a case-by-case basis with little public disclosure.

Prosecutors demanded a four-year prison term for Horie, who maintained his innocence throughout the proceedings [WARC News: 05-Sept-06]. Nearly all criminal trials in Japan end with guilty verdicts, although executives charged with white-collar crime usually get a suspended sentence and avoid jail.

Horie's defense team has appealed the sentence.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff