LAWYERS: NO GO FOR LAUNCH
ALL JAPANESE INTERNET MOGUL Takafumi Horie wanted was his very own space transportation program to carry people and cargo to the International Space Station and other destinations in low Earth orbit. The “Japanese Space Dream,” he called it.
The petition that Horie’s lawyers filed in Harris County District Court in Texas on November 10 suing Houston space lawyer Art Dula for fraud, among other things, claims that Dula told Horie he had connections to make all this happen. Horie forked over more than $49 million in a trust assigned to Dula, who transferred all of the money into an offshore account. The lawyer did in fact use some of the money to buy four space capsules and two space stations from Russian rocketry company NPO Mashinostroyenia—but the hardware came with restrictions from the Russian government barring modifications, making it all little more than a collection of space toys.
Dula was sued in 2013 for allegedly defauding a Texas woman in an asteroid mining scheme. That case was mutually dismissed by the parties.