Livedoor Director Quits as Inquiry Gathers Pace

Article excerpt

Byline: BILL CONDIE

A DIRECTOR of beleaguered Japanese internet firm Livedoor has quit the company as prosecutors prepare to quiz senior executives amid new allegations that they breached securities laws in a string of acquisitions.

The company issued a brief statement to the Tokyo Stock Exchange saying Yoshiaki Yamada has resigned, but gave no reasons for his departure.

Livedoor, headed by colourful entrepreneur Takafumi Horie, was raided by prosecutors on Monday, triggering a sell-off in Japanese stocks that swamped the exchange's creaking computer system and brought trading to a halt.

And in a macabre twist yesterday, a senior aide of the company's founder was found dead in a hotel bedroom yesterday with his wrists slashed.

Yamada, 59, joined Livedoor last year from Fuji Television Network after it became Livedoor's secondlargest shareholder.

One of the charges against Livedoor-which has seen its stock crash by 40% this week, is that its marketing unit announced in October 2004 that it would acquire publisher Money Life with stock, when the acquisition had already been made secretly with cash.

Livedoor counters that it did not consider Money Life to be a subsidiary at the time of the acquisition and that an internal investigation showed it decided to use stock because Livedoor Marketing did not have enough cash for the purchase. …