Nissan Motor Company’s Chairperson Carlos Ghosn has been arrested in Tokyo on charges of under-reporting his earnings, the Japanese media reported on Monday. Chief Executive Officer Hiroto Saikawa said Nissan’s board will meet on Thursday to discuss firing the 64-year-old, according to AFP.
The company said it had been investigating Ghosn and Representative Director Greg Kelly for several months based on a whistleblower’s claims. “The investigation showed that over many years, both Ghosn and Kelly have been reporting compensation amounts in the Tokyo Stock Exchange securities report that were less than the actual amount, in order to reduce the disclosed amount of Carlos Ghosn’s compensation,” Nissan said.
The investigation revealed Ghosn had used the company’s money for personal use and committed several other serious acts of misconduct, Reuters reported.
“I will call a board meeting to make a proposal to remove him from the position of chairmanship and approve it,” Hiroto Saikawa said at a news conference, according to AFP. “These two gentleman [Ghosn and Kelly] are arrested this evening, that’s what I understand.”
Saikawa added that the relationship between Nissan, its French partner Renault and Mitsubishi Motors, which is based in Tokyo, will not be affected by Ghosn’s arrest and dismissal. “Rather we will closely work together with all the partners to contain any possible confusion,” he said.
“Looking back, the concentration of power was something we need to deeply reflect on,” the CEO added, according to Reuters. “To have so greatly violated the trust of many, I feel full of disappointment and regret. It is very difficult to express this.... It’s not just disappointment, but a stronger feeling of outrage, and for me, despondency.”
According to Japanese broadcaster NHK World, Ghosn reported a compensation of 730 million yen for the 2017 fiscal year, much lower than the 1.1 billion yen he had reported the previous year.
Nissan was close to bankruptcy in 1999 when Ghosn joined as the chief operating officer from Renault after it invested in the Japanese company. He became the company’s chief executive officer in 2001 and helped turn around its fortunes. He retired from the post last year but remained the chief executive and chairperson of Renault.
After Nissan’s statement, the shares of Renault fell 13% in Paris. It is now among the worst performing stocks in Europe. Nissan’s shares, listed in Germany, plunged 12%, according to Reuters.
Ghosn is a French citizen of Lebanese descent and was born in Brazil.