Car Industry

Tokyo prosecutors indict Carlos Ghosn and Nissan

Under Japanese law, a company can be charged for the misdeeds of its employees.

It's unclear when Ghosn will appear before the court.

Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images

Monday marked the end of former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn's detention in Japan, following his arrest for allegedly underreporting his wages. Instead of cutting him loose, prosecutors have rearrested him and handed down an indictment.

Ghosn has officially been charged for alleged financial misdeeds, Reuters reports. Prosecutors also indicted Nissan's former representative director Greg Kelly. It's alleged that Kelly helped Ghosn underreport the former chairman's wages. According to Japanese media reports, Ghosn allegedly failed to report 5 billion yen (about $44 million).

Under Japanese law, the automaker can also be held culpable when employees make false statements in company reports, which is why the automaker itself is wrapped up in this too. 

"Nissan takes this situation extremely seriously," the company said in a statement. "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."

While Ghosn remains detained, Nissan is hoping to prevent him from fudging anything related to the investigation. Reuters also reports that Nissan has petitioned a Brazilian court to prevent Ghosn from accessing his Nissan-owned apartment in Rio de Janiero. According to a statement sent to Reuters, Nissan "is working to prevent the destruction of any potential evidence that could occur by allowing access to residences in question."

Reuters reports that Ghosn could face some serious penalties for his alleged malfeasance. If he's convicted, he could spend up to 10 years in prison and pay some 10 million yen in fines. As for Nissan, the company could face a fine of up to 700 million yen for having false disclosures in its financial reports.

After Ghosn's allegations came to light, Nissan moved to remove him from his position as the company's chairman. Ghosn remains the chairman and CEO of Renault, which has an alliance with Nissan that Ghosn had reportedly wanted to turn into a full-on merger, reportedly to the chagrin of some Nissan executives.

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