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Nissan's Ghosn crisis

Ex-Nissan official says he did nothing wrong

Greg Kelly accused of orchestrating pay cover-up for Carlos Ghosn

Nissan's jailed ex-chairman Carlos Ghosn also appears to have planned to receive lucrative "advising fees" after eventually leaving the automaker.
As Nissan's chairman, Carlos Ghosn also apparently planned to pocket lucrative "advisory fees" after eventually leaving the automaker.   © AP

TOKYO -- An aide arrested along with now-former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn says he acted appropriately and checked with relevant parties on Ghosn's allegedly understated income, sources close to the matter told Nikkei on Saturday.

Greg Kelly, then a representative director, is seen to have orchestrated misconduct including the purchase of overseas real estate using Nissan investment capital on Ghosn's behalf. Kelly has said he consulted internally at the automaker and with external law offices as well as the Financial Services Agency, and claims ignorance of any wrongdoing, sources said.

Kelly was expected to give investigators from the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office a statement to this effect. He and Ghosn were fired by Nissan's board Thursday after their arrest three days before. Ghosn, who led the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Motors alliance, is suspected of underreporting his pay from Nissan by about 5 billion yen ($44 million) over the five years through March 2015 in violation of the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act, though sources have said he may have hidden more and for longer than initially thought.

Also on Saturday, sources told Nikkei that Ghosn had planned to receive billions of yen from Nissan after eventually leaving, in forms including so-called advisory fees. Documents were drawn up regarding this, the sources said.

Investigators appear to be aware of Ghosn's plans. His actions are viewed as an effort to help compensate for money lost through pay cuts he took years ago as a result of Nissan's legal obligation to disclose his remuneration.

Since 2010, Japanese companies have been required to list in securities filings any directors making 100 million yen or more. Directors' reported cash compensation at Nissan was lowered by about 900 million yen on the year in the year ended March 2010. The majority of the cuts came from slashing Ghosn's out of fear of criticism over its size, according to sources connected to the matter.

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