Nissan ‘co-operating’ with U.S. probe

by Kim Boateng Posted on January 28th, 2019

Nissan said it is “co-operating” with an inquiry by U.S. regulators, following reports that the carmaker is being investigated over executive pay disclosures.

On Monday, US media reported the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had launched a probe into Nissan.

The carmaker did not give further details about the inquiry.

It comes as the firm’s former chairman Carlos Ghosn faces charges of financial misconduct in Japan.

“I can confirm that we have received an inquiry from the SEC, and are cooperating fully. We cannot provide further details,” a spokesperson for Nissan said.

US media reported the SEC is investigating whether the Nissan maintained adequate controls to prevent improper payments.

The Japanese carmaker has accused Mr Ghosn of financial misconduct.

Last month, it said an internal investigation had found Mr Ghosn received “improper payments” totalling €7.8m ($8.9m; £6.9m) from a joint venture between the carmaker and Mitsubishi.

The 64-year-old was first arrested on 19 November and remains in detention in Tokyo, where he faces charges of financial misconduct and breach of trust.

He has denied the accusations.

This follows the recent indictment in Japan of Nissan and its former chairman Carlos Ghosn on allegations of financial misconduct. Former Nissan director Greg Kelly was also indicted.

Ghosn, who headed the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, was arrested on November 19, 2018.

Ghosn is charged of understating his compensation by more than $80 million over a period of eight years. He also faces a charge of having allegedly plotted to transfer his personal losses to Nissan’s books.

The latest charges were filed on January 11. Ghosn has denied any wrongdoing.

In November, Nissan had said its internal investigation showed that over many years, Ghosn was reporting compensation amounts in the Tokyo Stock Exchange securities report that were less than the actual amount, in order to reduce the disclosed amount of compensation.

Nissan added that numerous other significant acts of misconduct were uncovered, such as personal use of company assets.

As a result, Ghosn was ousted as Chairman of Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (MMTOF.PK) and also was temporarily replaced as head of French automaker Renault SA (RNSDY.PK, RNSDF.PK, RNT.L).

Last Friday, Renault said its board of directors decided to provide the company with a new governance structure and to institute a separation of the functions of Chairman of the Board and CEO.

The Board co-opted Jean-Dominique Senard as new Director and also elected him Chairman. It appointed Thierry Bolloré as CEO.

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