National / Politics

Ghosn says he signed papers on receiving underreported pay: sources

Kyodo

Ousted Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn admitted to prosecutors that he signed documents on his post-retirement pay that were unreported in the company’s securities statements, sources close to the investigation said Thursday.

The act of signing, which Ghosn allegedly denied shortly after his arrest on Nov. 19, is seen by prosecutors as more proof that the former chairman of the Japanese automaker violated the financial exchange law by failing to report part of his remuneration.

But the sources said that the 64-year-old has argued that the signing of the papers was only to confirm his understanding of the documents’ contents, apparently maintaining that he did not commit financial misconduct.

Ghosn has been arrested on suspicion of violating the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act by reporting only ¥5 billion ($44 million) of his ¥10 billion remuneration during the five years from fiscal 2010.

The prosecutors are expected to serve a fresh arrest warrant on Ghosn for allegedly failing to state a part of his remuneration worth ¥4 billion for three years through this March.

An ordinance linked to the financial exchange law says that remuneration needs to be disclosed in a securities report when the actual sum of the payment becomes clear, even if the actual payout is planned in the future.

Ghosn has asserted that these deferred payments were not fixed and thus did not have to be included in the financial securities reports.

At least two documents were crafted that specified the manner in which the post-retirement payments would be transferred, with each document bundling two years’ worth of remuneration, according to the sources.

The documents stated three types of remuneration: a yearly amount of around ¥2 billion, the actual ¥1 billion that was paid, and ¥1 billion in future payment.

Aside from Ghosn’s signature, the documents also included those of former Japanese secretarial officers.

The prosecutors are also looking into documents on post-retirement payments crafted by Ghosn’s close aid Greg Kelly, who was also arrested, that date back to 2010.