Ex-Nissan chief Ghosn charged, served with fresh arrest warrant

Ex-Nissan chief Ghosn charged, served with fresh arrest warrant

Prosecutors in Japan have charged the former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn with under-reporting his income by tens of millions of pounds, as the fallout from the scandal threatened to engulf other senior executives.

Ghosn was arrested last month following allegations that he had under-reported his income. Prosecutors also re-arrested him on Monday for allegedly understating his income for three more years through March 2018.

Nissan, indicted for filing false financial statements, said it takes the charge seriously.

The vehicle company itself has also been charged - accused of making false statements in annual reports - according to the reports.

The news has apparently affected the company's shares, as Nissan stocks plummeted almost 3 percent to the lowest point since the arrest.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a news conference Monday that relations between Japan and France are unshakable despite concerns over the future of Nissan's alliance with Renault after Ghosn's indictment.

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Ghosn was stripped of his chairman roles at Nissan and Mitsubishi after the allegations emerged, although he remains chairman and CEO of Renault. The new charges allow authorities to extend the detention of Ghosn and Kelly for further questioning. Ghosn, if convicted, faces up to 10 years in prison and/or 10 million yen in fines under the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act.

Brazilian-born Mr Ghosn has been detained in Tokyo since his November 19 arrest on suspicion of conspiring with former Nissan representative director Greg Kelly to understate his compensation by about half of the actual $88 million, over five years from 2010. Nissan said earlier that it was cooperating with the prosecutors' office and providing them with information related to misconducts.

He was parachuted into Nissan and began a huge corporate overhaul when Renault acquired the then-ailing Japanese manufacturer in 1990.

Ghosn is regarded as the glue which holds the alliance of Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi together and questions have been raised in the past about how his eventual departure might affect the group. Fewer than 1 percent of cases in Japan's district and county courts resulted in a not-guilty verdict or the defendant being released in 2017, according to prosecution data.

Ghosn denies the charges and is in a "combative" frame of mind, according to sources at Renault, the company he still formally leads - even if the French auto giant has appointed an interim chairman.

It is likely that the company and the two former executives will be indicted over misstatements and misreporting of earnings in the five annual reports leading up to the fiscal year ending March 2015. Renault is aiming to reach in about a week the first conclusions of its internal probe into whether the pay packages of Ghosn, along with the French carmaker's other top managers, were properly disclosed to shareholders, the people said. Nissan is at odds with Renault over what it sees as the French company's outsized control of it. Renault holds 43.4 percent of Nissan's shares.

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