Nissan Faces $22 Million Fine Over Ghosn’s Pay
Nissan Motor Co. is about to pay a $22 million fine for not telling anyone about tens of millions of dollars in retirement pay it set aside for Carlos Ghosn, its chairman at the time.
Ghosn, who arranged the scheme, claims everything was properly done. But he was arrested 13 months ago for covering up the plan. Other claimed instances of financial wrongdoing, including diverting corporate funds for his own benefit, were added later. He awaits a series of trials, the first of which won’t start until next spring.
Nissan is accused of hiding 9 billion yen ($83 million) in deferred compensation between 2000 and 2017. Japan’s securities commission says failing to report the sum misled investors about the financial health of the company.
Half the total is beyond Japan’s statute of limitations, so the fine applies only to about 4.2 billion yen ($39 million) in hidden pay starting in fiscal 2015-2016.
Welcome to the 15th Century
The Ghosn scandal is being played out in slow motion under Japan’s startlingly archaic legal system, which boasts a conviction rate greater than 90%.
Among other things, prosecutors may question suspects repeatedly without granting them legal representation and keep them in jail indefinitely by periodically filing new charges.
Ghosn, who stoutly declares his innocence on all counts, claims he is the victim of a conspiracy by disgruntled Nissan executives. He was incarcerated for 107 days before being released on extremely restricted bail. Four weeks later he was rearrested on new charges.
Ghosn has been out on bail but living under house arrest since the end of April. He wasn’t allowed to communicate with his wife (via chaperoned video) until late last month. Prosecutors had feared the two would collude to tamper with evidence.
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