Nissan Motor Co yesterday said it would seek the removal of Carlos Ghosn after uncovering serious acts of misconduct by the chairman, who faced arrest in Tokyo for violating financial trading law, according to Japanese media reports.
Ghosn, among the most prominent car-industry leaders globally and also the chief executive officer of Renault SA, voluntarily submitted to questioning by Tokyo prosecutors yesterday, Japanese media reported.
Nissan has been conducting an internal investigation over the past several months regarding misconduct involving Ghosn and director Greg Kelly, the Japanese automaker said in a statement.
“The investigation showed that over many years both Ghosn and Kelly have been 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 Carlos Ghosn’s compensation,” Nissan said.
The company said it has been providing information to the Japanese prosecutors and is cooperating fully with their investigation.
Ghosn voluntarily went with Tokyo prosecutors, the Asahi Shimbun reported.
A representative for the Tokyo prosecutors said they do not comment on individual cases.
A spokesman for Renault declined to comment.
Shares of the automaker fell as much as 14 percent in Paris, while Nissan global depository receipts sank more than 11 percent.
Among the most prominent car-industry executives globally, Ghosn, 64, built the three-way union of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors Corp.
In September, he said that he will continue to pare back his roles at the three individual companies, while continuing to head their alliance.
A spokesman for the French Ministry of Finance declined to comment on the report.
The country owns about 15 percent of Renault and supported Ghosn’s renewal at the helm of the French automaker.
Among the best-paid executives in both Japan and France for several years, Ghosn’s compensation has regularly drawn criticism.
Ghosn receives numerous paychecks in his multiple roles as chairman of the three-way alliance, chief executive officer of Renault, and chairman of both Nissan and Mitsubishi.
At Nissan, he was paid about ￥1.1 billion (US$10 million) for 2016 and about US$6.5 million in the most recent fiscal year.
He took home about US$8.5 million at Renault and about US$2 million from Mitsubishi in the latest period.
At Renault, his package for last year was narrowly passed by Renault shareholders, but only after he agreed to a 20 percent reduction.
Ghosn has been contemplating his career moves as the companies plan to change the pact’s structure, possibly through a merger.
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