Business / Corporate

Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa won't be charged over Ghosn's underreported pay, sources say

Kyodo

Prosecutors have decided not to indict Nissan Motor Co. CEO Hiroto Saikawa for his involvement in the alleged underreporting of former Chairman Carlos Ghosn’s remuneration, sources close to the matter said Friday.

A man in Tokyo had filed a complaint, alleging that Saikawa violated the financial instruments law as he was aware that Ghosn’s remuneration was being underreported for two years through March 2018 in Nissan’s securities reports presented to Japanese regulators.

Saikawa’s name was cited in the financial reports as representative since fiscal 2016. The prosecutors made the decision not to indict the 65-year-old on April 26, the sources said.

Ghosn, along with former Nissan director Greg Kelly, has been indicted for allegedly understating the former chairman’s remuneration for the eight years through March 2018 by around ¥9 billion.

According to investigative sources, Saikawa admitted to prosecutors in December to have signed a company document that promised payment to Ghosn following his retirement. That remuneration was not written in the securities reports.

Saikawa, who succeeded Ghosn as president and chief executive officer in April 2017, was quoted as telling investigators that he signed the document “without thinking deeply” because he thought the matter was already agreed upon by Ghosn and Kelly.

Nissan as a company has also been indicted on the charge of violating the financial instruments law by underreporting the remuneration.

Following his arrest in November last year, Ghosn was removed from the chairmanship posts at Nissan and at partners Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. The 65-year-old has also been replaced as CEO of Renault.

Ghosn, who also faces other charges of financial misconduct, has continued to claim he is innocent via interviews and a video message, blaming Nissan executives for conspiring against him.

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