Ex-Nissan boss formally charged for financial misconduct

Ex-Nissan boss formally charged for financial misconduct

Carlos Ghosn, the powerful auto executive who recently lost his role as chairman of Nissan, has been formally indicted on charges that he underreported his income to Japanese authorities.

Ghosn remains the chairman of the Amsterdam-based Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Motors Corp. alliance.

In a statement released after the arrest, Nissan said it had been investigating Ghosn and Kelly for months, after receiving a report from a whistleblower.

In a fall from grace that stunned the business world, the former Nissan chairman was arrested on Nov 19 on suspicion of under-declaring his income by some five billion yen (S$60 million) between 2010 and 2015.

The Wall Street Journal spoke with sources who said the alleged unreported compensation was deferred until after Ghosn's retirement.

The criminal complaint filed by the SESC apparently added legal strength to the prosecutors' case, paving the way for the indictments.

Authorities then re-arrested him later Monday over separate allegations that he also under-reported his income by a further four billion over the past three years. The CEO appeared alone at a late-night media conference just hours after the arrest and issued a frontal condemnation of Ghosn's alleged behaviour, calling it "the dark side of Ghosn's long reign".

If found guilty, Ghosn and Kelly could each face up to 10 years in prison, a fine up to 10 million yen ($88,750) or both, according to the Nikkei.

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Tokyo prosecutors have charged Carlos Ghosn, the former head of Nissan, with hiding £35 million in pay and immediately rearrested him for a similar offence.

Ghosn is regarded as the glue which holds the alliance of Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi together and questions have been raised in the past about how his eventual departure might affect the group.

Ghosn is seeking to retrieve "personal belongings, documents, cash, objects and art pieces" from the beachfront apartment, which Nissan says it owns.

The statement said Nissan would work to improve its corporate governance and compliance, "including making accurate disclosures of corporate information".

Kelly, 62, an American, is suspected of having collaborated with Ghosn. "We believe that he is innocent, so we will fight in court", Kitamura said.

The affair represents a staggering turnaround for a figure celebrated for saving Nissan from the brink of bankruptcy and rebuilding it as a money-making subsidiary of Renault. But Ghosn's star-level pay has drawn attention since executives in Japan tend to be paid far less than their worldwide counterparts.

Court proceedings in Brazil started on November 29 when a lawyer for Ghosn asked a judge to grant him access to the Rio apartment. Ghosn, under pressure from the French government, had pushed for a deeper tie-up including a possible full merger between Renault and Nissan, despite strong reservations at Nissan.


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