This morning, Tokyo prosecutors have indicted former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn, and former representative director Greg Kelly for violating Japan’s Financial Instruments and Exchange Act. According to Japanese media, Ghosn allegedly failed to report 5 billion yen (about $44 million) from the 2010-2014 fiscal years. Prosecutors also rearrested both men on new allegations for under-reporting compensation totaling 4 billion yen (about $35.5 billion) from the 2015-2017 fiscal year.
Prosecutors had until today to either indict or re-arrest Ghosn and Kelly. Under Japanese law, prosecutors can hold someone in custody for 20 days. After that, they need to either indict, set them free, or re-arrest the person with new charges. The last option resets the clock and allows prosecutors to continue their investigation.
Both Ghosn and Kelly have denied any wrongdoing according to Japanese media.
Nissan was also indicted today on charges of filing falsified securities reports. As we reported on Friday, a company can be held accountable if employees make false statements in company reports under Japanese law.
“Making false disclosures in annual securities reports greatly harms the integrity of Nissan’s public disclosures in the securities markets, and the company expresses its deepest regret. Nissan will continue its efforts to strengthen its governance and compliance, including making accurate disclosures of corporate information,” said Nissan in a statement.
There's also a new twist in the case. Reuters reports that Ghosn and Nissan are currently fighting over access to an apartment Rio de Janiero. In a filing to a Brazilian court last week, Nissan (who owns the apartment) is trying to block Ghosn from getting access into the apartment as it would “represent an incalculable risk of destruction of potential evidence of crimes allegedly committed.” The company says there are three safes that were found in an audit and are waiting to be opened.
Ghosn has been trying to get into the apartment since late November when a lawyer representing Ghosn asked for permission to enter the apartment. It currently houses “personal belongings, documents, cash, objects and art pieces” that Ghosn wants to retrieve.
“Nissan has been cooperating with authorities to investigate misconduct on the part of its former chairman, and is working to prevent the destruction of any potential evidence that could occur by allowing access to residences in question,” a Nissan spokesman told Reuters.
The apartment was purchased in 2011 by a Nissan subsidiary after the company opened a plant in the nearby city of Resende. In a filing, Nissan said it had bought the apartment expecting that Ghosn’s trips to Brazil would “become more constant” after the factory opened. It should be noted that Ghosn was born and maintains Brazilian citizenship.
Jose Roberto de Castro Neves, a lawyer representing Ghosn told Reuters he didn't know about the existence of three different safes and that it was “absurd speculation” that they may contain evidence of wrongdoing.