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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 January 2006, 14:35 GMT
Livedoor chief denies wrongdoing
Livedoor boss Takafumi Horie
Livedoor is run by 33-year-old entrepreneur Takafumi Horie
The head of scandal-hit Japanese internet firm Livedoor has denied allegations that he broke market rules.

"I'm innocent of the allegations," Livedoor president Takafumi Horie said on his personal website.

Livedoor is currently at the centre of a widening securities fraud probe into allegations that the group gave misleading information to investors.

Three executives have been quizzed as part of the inquiry, which led to chaos on Japan's stock market last week.

On Wednesday, news of Livedoor's problems sparked heavy selling of shares on the market, forcing the Tokyo Stock Exchange to close 20 minutes early for the first time in its history.

Official probe

According to media reports, Livedoor is alleged to have provided misleading information about the takeover of publisher Money Life by one of its subsidiaries in 2004.

Reports also claim that allegations it concealed a 1bn yen ($8.7m; 7.1m) loss for the financial year to September 2004 are being investigated.

Mr Horie's claims were supported by a report in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun business newspaper, which quoted Livedoor's chief financial officer Ryoji Myauchi as saying Mr Horie had not been involved in the deal.

During interviews with prosecutors Mr Myauchi has admitted directing the Money Life takeover, but denied being aware of any irregularities, the newspaper added.

The Tokyo Prosecutors office was not available for comment on the reports.

The reports emerged on the day of the funeral of Hideaki Noguchi - the head of an investment firm involved in Livedoor's suspect business deals - who was found dead on the island of Okinawa in a suspected suicide on Thursday last week.

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