Greg Kelly, a close aide of former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn, claims Japan’s Financial Services Agency told him it was unnecessary to report the remuneration Ghosn was set to receive after retirement, informed sources said Thursday.
Tokyo prosecutors believe the two were aware of the need to report Ghosn’s post-retirement package but did not do so. Kelly, however, is likely to deny allegations that he intentionally falsified securities reports, they said.
The former Nissan representative director was arrested along with Ghosn on Nov. 19 on suspicion of conspiring to engage in financial misconduct. Kelly has said he consulted a public accountant and a lawyer in addition to the FSA over the need to report the post-retirement payment, according to the sources.
He has also told prosecutors there was no need to report the remuneration as it had not yet been settled, the sources said. Kelly’s lawyer in the United States told Kyodo News the day before that Kelly «absolutely believes what he did was legal.»
Under the financial instruments law, remuneration must be disclosed in a securities report when it is fixed, even if the actual payout is planned in the future.
The post-retirement payment that went unreported for eight years from fiscal 2010 totaled roughly 8 billion yen ($ 70 million) and was scheduled to be paid as consultation fees, among others.
Ghosn allegedly thought he should receive some 2 billion yen annually as remuneration but instructed Kelly to state in securities reports that he earned 1 billion yen a year instead and planned to receive the remainder after retirement, the sources said.
The FSA said it does not comment on individual cases.
Ghosn was arrested by prosecutors for allegedly violating Japan’s Financial Instruments and Exchange Act by underreporting his remuneration by around 5 billion yen over five years to March 2015, even though he received some 10 billion yen in the period.
The prosecutors are also considering building a case against him for underreporting a further 3 billion yen in remuneration received over three years from April 2015.
Ghosn has denied the charge.
All — Kyodo News+