Ghosn received $9 million improperly from Nissan-Mitsubishi JV: companies

TOKYO (Reuters) – Arrested auto executive Carlos Ghosn improperly received 7.8 million euros ($9 million) in compensation from a joint venture (JV) between Nissan Motor Co (7201.T) and Mitsubishi Motors Corp (7211.T), the companies said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, attends the Tomorrow In Motion event on the eve of press day at the Paris Auto Show, in Paris, France, October 1, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo

A joint investigation found that Ghosn, ousted as chairman from both automakers, was compensated by the Netherlands-based JV without any discussion with two other board members, Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa and Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko.

Nissan holds a controlling stake in Mitsubishi Motors.

Ghosn, arrested and detained in Tokyo since Nov. 19, has been indicted in Japan on charges of under-reporting his salary for eight years through March 2018, and temporarily transferring personal investment losses to Nissan during the global financial crisis.

Ghosn denies the charges against him. His lawyer, Motonari Otsuru, could not immediately be reached by telephone on Friday.

Reuters reported earlier this week about the alleged improper compensation to Ghosn by the JV and that Nissan was considering filing for damages, citing a source.

Nissan said on Friday that it would consider ways to recover the full amount from Ghosn, and Mitsubishi said it would consider ways to hold him responsible.

The latest allegations are likely to add pressure on the Japanese automakers’ partner Renault (RENA.PA) to cut ties with Ghosn. Unlike Mitsubishi and Nissan, Renault has kept Ghosn as CEO and chairman, but its biggest shareholder, the French government, has been urging it to replace him.

The French automaker holds around 43 percent of Nissan, the biggest partner in the alliance by sales and which in turn holds a non-voting 15 percent stake in Renault. Mitsubishi became the smallest member of the three-way automaking alliance when Nissan in 2016 took a 34 percent stake in the company.

($1 = 0.8780 euros)

Additional reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; Writing by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Himani Sarkar

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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