Authorities in Japan have formally charged Carlos Ghosn, his former employers Nissan, and alleged co-conspirator Greg Kelly for financial misconduct, stemming from Ghosn & Nissan underreporting his remuneration for 5 years, between fiscal-year 2010 and 2015, resulting in a ‘hidden’ payout of as much as $122-million.
While his initial detention period of 20-days lapsed (resulting in both Ghosn & Kelly being released), they were very quickly re-arrested on the same charges, this time spanning 2015 to 2018. The two remain in custody, with Kelly accused of being the co-conspirator that enabled Ghosn to take home far more than was reported to the Japanese securities commission.
In addition to this, according to Reuters, there are charges that are being drawn up with regards to misuse of funds. Allegedly, Ghosn & Kelly conspired to abuse funds earmarked by the company and handed to a subsidiary investment vehicle to purchase and maintain luxury properties in Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Amsterdam and Beirut for the personal use of the chairman. This was also hidden from securities commission filings.
However, it seems that prosecutors will be going after Nissan for being complicit in the misconduct too, where it’d previously been limited to Ghosn and Kelly. This is (to this writer) entirely logical – you don’t just misplace that kind of money for 8-years and not notice. In response, Nissan has said:
“Nissan takes this situation extremely seriously. Making false disclosures in annual securities reports greatly harms the integrity of Nissan’s public disclosures in the securities markets, and the company expresses its deepest regret. Nissan will continue its efforts to strengthen its governance and compliance, including making accurate disclosures of corporate information.” — Statement, Nissan Motor Corporation
In the meantime, the Alliance that Ghosn used to chair is now in a touch of disarray, with the three component companies deciding that all three of them should fill that gap. Nissan & Mitsubishi have since removed Ghosn from all positions, while Renault remains cautious, merely putting him on suspension until everything sorts itself out.
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