Ex-NOVA president admits diverting funds but says it wasn’t embezzlement

[Former Nova President Nozomu] Sahashi is under indictment on charges of embezzlement in the conduct of business for transferring 320 million yen from the account of the employees’ mutual assistance association into another account in July 2007, exchanging the money for a check and placing the funds in an affiliate’s account.

A prosecutor said in the opening statement that Sahashi embezzled the funds because NOVA was pinched for money. “The defendant committed the crime after his firm became hard-pressed for cash and had difficulties repaying tuition fees to students who cancelled their contracts.”

The prosecutor said that on July 19, 2007, the day before the alleged crime, Sahashi instructed an accountant in the firm to use money from the association to refund tuition fees.

The accountant told him that the money in the association cannot be used that way. However, Sahashi said, “I know that, but we have no choice because we have no other funds,” according to the opening statement.

Moreover, apart from the 320 million yen, prosecutors accuse Sahashi of misappropriating approximately 30 million yen from the mutual assistance association between March 2004 and March 2007.