Ex-Nova students sue management for compensation

A group of 24 former students of failed language school operator Nova Corp. lodged a suit for damages Friday against former Nova management and two audit companies, seeking a total of 16 million yen in compensation to cover prepaid tuition.

It was the first time that former Nova students have filed a class action suit since the company went bankrupt last year, lawyers for the plaintiffs said after filing the suit with the Osaka District Court.

They claimed that former President Nozomu Sahashi and other Nova management led the company to bankruptcy after employing illicit accounting procedures and business practices to expand its operations. Sahashi, 57, was indicted in July on charges of embezzlement.

The plaintiffs — including students and company employees in Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Nara, Ehime and Miyazaki prefectures — also accused the audit companies of allowing the Nova management to continue such unlawful practices, according to the complaint.

Some condemned the management for failing to reimburse tuition fees even after canceling their contracts.

“We would like to help former students by pressing charges against Nova over its reckless business practices,” lawyer Takanori Ozaki said at a news conference.