Ghosn’s aide denies underreporting chairman’s salary: source

Nissan Motor Co.’s representative director, who was arrested with Chairman Carlos Ghosn for allegedly conspiring in financial misconduct, has denied that Ghosn’s salary was falsely underreported in the company’s securities reports, sources close to the matter said Saturday.

Greg Kelly said that Nissan’s securities reports were properly written and that there were no problems with them, the sources said. It is the first time that comments made by either of the two Nissan officials on the allegations have become known since their arrest on Monday. Both Ghosn and Kelly were stripped of their posts at an emergency board meeting Thursday.

Tokyo prosecutors arrested Ghosn for allegedly underreporting his salary by around 5 billion yen ($ 44 million) for five years through fiscal 2014 while receiving nearly 10 billion yen during that period.

The 64-year-old Ghosn is also suspected of having tried to cover up a total of 8 billion yen in remuneration by underreporting his salary for eight years, according to another sources familiar with the matter.

Ghosn allegedly determined his remuneration as about 2 billion yen per year and underreported it by half, the sources said. The 8 billion yen was apparently intended to be paid to him after he stepped down as chairman and assumed a new position.

Ghosn is believed to have made his remuneration look smaller to avoid criticism from Nissan shareholders, the sources said.

The underreporting that allegedly continued in the following three years would bring the total amount of money covered up to around 8 billion yen, they said.

Meanwhile, Nissan’s corporate auditors have suspected that the company had bought residences for Ghosn through its overseas subsidiary that is not actually operating, those sources said.

The subsidiary is Zi-A Capital BV, based in Amsterdam. Nissan invested some 6 billion yen when it set up the subsidiary in 2010.

Ghosn became a board member of Zi-A Capital when it was established but resigned the following year. The 62-year-old Kelly and some former Nissan executives have been on the list of its board members.

All — Kyodo News+

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