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Nissan's Ghosn crisis

Nissan and Ghosn settle with SEC over $140m in concealed pay

Ex-CEO barred from executive jobs in US for 10 years

Former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn, left, and former Nissan executive Greg Kelly arrive for a pre-trial hearing at the Tokyo District Court on June 24. (Photos by Karina Nooka) 

NEW YORK -- Nissan Motor and its ex-Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn will pay a combined $16 million to settle fraud charges alleging they hid compensation to the former chief, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced Monday.

The Japanese automaker agreed to pay $15 million while Ghosn will pay $1 million. The securities regulator said Nissan concealed $140 million in compensation and benefits to be awarded to Ghosn upon his retirement.

Although none of the money was paid out, "Nissan's disclosures about Ghosn's compensation were false" and "misled investors," said Steven Peikin, co-director of the SEC's enforcement division. 

The announcement comes a week after Ghosn's successor, Hiroto Saikawa, resigned as Nissan CEO over his own pay scandal.

As part of the settlement, Ghosn will be banned for 10 years from serving as an executive officer or director at a U.S.-listed company. Greg Kelly, a former Nissan director, will pay $100,000.

Ghosn and Kelly reached the settlement without admitting or denying wrongdoing, the regulator said.

Ghosn and Kelly were arrested for securities fraud in Japan last November and are currently awaiting trial. Ghosn has denied all the charges against him.

In a statement issued Monday, the automaker said: "Nissan provided significant cooperation to the SEC and has promptly implemented remedial acts to prevent a recurrence, including transitioning to a new governance structure."

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