Ex-Nova Head Sahashi Found Guilty of Embezzlement, Asahi Says

The former president of Nova Corp., once Japan’s biggest English-language school operator, was found guilty of embezzlement and sentenced to prison by the Osaka district court, the Asahi newspaper said.

The court found today Nozomu Sahashi redirected 320 million yen ($3.4 million) from his employees’ welfare program to the company before its bankruptcy in 2007, the Asahi reported, citing judge Hiroaki Higuchi. Sahashi, 57, was given a sentence of three years and six months.

Sahashi founded Nova in 1981 and the Osaka-based company had more than 900 branches at its peak. Nova’s finances worsened after the government in June 2007 ordered it to suspend operations for violating rules on commercial transactions. It filed for bankruptcy protection in October that year.