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Nova founder gets two-year prison term in Japan

Published on Nov 22, 2012 12:04 PM

TOKYO (AFP) - The disgraced founder of defunct English language school Nova has had his two-year jail term for embezzlement upheld, a court official in Japan said on Thursday.

The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Nozumu Sahashi, 61, who illegally took 320 million yen (S$4.75 million) from employee benefit funds.

He gave the money to a Nova affiliate to reimburse students who had quit lessons for which they had paid in advance. The amount was valued at roughly US$2.97 million (S$3.6 million) in 2008 at the time of Sahashi's indictment, but is worth around US$3.9 million today.

Nova had an estimated 400,000 students and 6,000 employees on its books, 4,500 of them foreigners - many of them young people looking to spend a few years in Japan. But it filed for protection from creditors in 2007 after the government ordered it to halt part of its operations over insufficient refunds for students.

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