Police say ex-Nova boss hoarded riches on brink of bust

Disgraced former Nova Corp. President Nozomu Sahashi was in possession of a large amount of personal assets when the English conversation school was on the brink of collapse, police said.

Sahashi, 56, from Osaka, was arrested on Tuesday on charges of embezzlement in the conduct of business after he was found to have used about 320 million yen that had been pooled in Nova employees’ mutual aid society. Sahashi has reportedly denied part of the allegations.

Investigators found on Tuesday that Sahashi had had hundreds of millions of yen worth of personal assets in the forms of cash and real estate when he allegedly misappropriated the massive sum from the employees’ welfare fund by transferring the money into a Nova account in July last year.

In a related development, police also arrested Toshihiko Murata, 49, former president of a Nova affiliate called Nova Kikaku, on charges of embezzlement in the conduct of business.

Murata, who was reputed to be Sahashi’s right-hand man, has reportedly admitted to the allegations. He had assisted Sahashi mainly in accounting since around 1990.

Investigators have also raided a building in Osaka’s Chuo-ku, where Nova Kikaku’s headquarters was based.