Nova chief may face unpaid wages charge

The labor ministry’s regional bureau in Osaka is planning to send information to prosecutors possibly later this week on Nozomu Sahashi, former president of Nova Corp., on suspicion of nonpayment of wages to language instructors, sources said Monday.

The Osaka Prefectural Police are separately planning to launch investigations to build a criminal case against Sahashi, 56, for alleged embezzlement of fringe benefit provisions for employees at what was once the largest English-language school chain in Japan, the sources said.

According to the sources, the allegations by the labor bureau concern a total of around ¥100 million that should have been paid last September and October to around 400 instructors and staff members nationwide who worked for now-bankrupt Nova.

The amount represents one of the largest cases of nonpayment of regular wages ever.

However, the allegations constitute only a part of wage nonpayment at Nova. During the two-month period, it is known that around 8,000 employees did not receive salary payments totaling ¥1.8 billion.

The unpaid wages are thought to be as high as ¥4.1 billion in all if the period after October, when Nova went bust, is included.