Shady stock speculator claims link to NOVA’s failed rescue plan

A stock speculator arrested for alleged market manipulation has claimed to have had links with two tax haven-based funds ousted NOVA Corp. President Nozomu Sahashi had been trying to get to prop up the failed English conversation school chain, the Mainichi has learned.

Haruo Nishida, 57, the speculator arrested by the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office earlier this month for stock manipulation, claims to have been involved in the setting up of the two funds based in the British Virgin Islands.

Sahashi, however, vehemently denied the claims.

“I’ve never heard of Nishida, nor have I met him,” Sahashi told the Mainichi before he was axed by his board last Thursday. “A lawyer was dealing with the funds and I’ve heard the lawyer has had nothing to do with him, either.”

Receivers for the failed chain have pledged to conduct a thorough probe into the deal Sahashi was trying to set up with the funds, giving them a share warrant that he hoped would generate about 6.4 billion yen in capital.

“Sahashi ran around arranging the share warrant on his own,” one of the company’s receivers said. “If there were any dirty or unfair activities that went on, we will have to take legal steps.”

On Oct. 24, NOVA issued 70 million yen worth of share warrant stock that would allow the two funds to purchase up to 200 million shares in the company. If the funds purchased all the shares, it would generate about 6.4 billion yen in cash. The plan failed, however, when NOVA filed for protection from creditors on Friday and Jasdaq announced it would delist the company on Nov. 27.

Speculator Nishida was arrested on Oct. 12 after he allegedly fiddled with the price of shares in A.C. Holdings Co. when it was known by its old name of Nanno Construction Co. On the day before his arrest, Nishida told the Mainichi he was involved in the funds dealing with Sahashi.

“I helped set them up,” he said. “I was just about to do it (get involved with NOVA shares) and was heading off to Britain (in connection with that), but the Osaka district prosecutors stopped me, so I couldn’t go.”