Nissan Motors Chairman Carlos Ghosn ‘arrested’ on financial misconduct charge

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Company accuses him of “significant acts of misconduct”, says it will seek to oust him.

Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn was reportedly under arrest in Tokyo on Monday, as his firm accused him of “significant acts of misconduct” and said it would seek to oust him.

Japan’s public broadcaster NHK and other media outlets said Mr. Ghosn had been arrested after being questioned by prosecutors for various improprieties, including under-reporting his income.

“The Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office arrested Nissan Chairman Mr. Ghosn on suspicion of violation of the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act,” NHK  said.

In a statement, Nissan said it had been conducting a probe into him for several months after receiving a whistleblower report and had uncovered misconduct going back several years.

The Tokyo prosecutor’s office had no comment on the reports about Mr. Ghosn, who also heads an alliance of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi.

Nissan said it launched an investigation into both Mr. Ghosn and Representative Director Greg Kelly several months ago.

Information given to prosecutors, says company

The company said it had provided information to prosecutors and would propose to the board of directors that it “promptly remove Mr. Ghosn from his positions” along with Mr. Kelly.

The news first emerged on Monday evening, when daiily Asahi Shimbun reported Mr. Ghosn was being questioned by prosecutors and was likely to face arrest.

NHK reported that prosecutors were raiding Nissan’s headquarters in the city of Yokohama. “If he is arrested, it’s going to rock the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance as he is the keystone of the alliance. He is the man of Charisma for the alliance. It is likely to have a negative impact on its brand image,” said Satoru Takada, an analyst at TIW, a Tokyo-based research and consulting firm.

Nicknamed Le Cost Killer, Mr. Ghosn is known for overhauling Renault and Nissan starting in the nineties. Renault came to the rescue of the then-ailing Japanese automaker in 1999 and parachuted in him, who set about slashing costs and jobs in a huge corporate overhaul. In 2016, he also took charge at troubled Mitsubishi after Nissan threw it a lifeline, buying a one-third stake for about $2.2 billion as it wrestled with a mileage-cheating scandal that hammered sales. Mr. Ghosn has a high profile in Japan and is known as a major advocate of the country’s auto sector. He has not yet commented on the allegations.

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