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Nissan's Ghosn crisis

Nissan faces fine of more than $18m over Ghosn pay scandal

Japan's securities watchdog plans probe separate from criminal case

Then-Chairman Carlos Ghosn speaks at Nissan's shareholders meeting in June 2018.

TOKYO -- Nissan Motor could be fined more than 2 billion yen ($18.6 million) after Japan's securities regulator decided on Wednesday to investigate allegations that the company understated former Chairman Carlos Ghosn's compensation, Nikkei has learned.

The Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission plans to start on-site inspections at the Japanese automaker in the coming months. The SESC could ask later this year that the Financial Services Agency impose a fine.

The probe will seek evidence of violations of securities law. This regulatory action is separate from a criminal case brought by the SESC last year against Ghosn and Nissan over accusations of false statements on the company's securities filings.

The timing of the probe will depend on the progress of the criminal case. Material from March 2015 that falls outside the statute of limitations will be subject to the investigation.

Ghosn was arrested in Japan last November on charges of making false financial statements. He awaits trial on a longer list of charges, including misuse of Nissan's money. Ghosn denies all the charges.

Nissan reported a net profit of 319 billion yen on sales of 11.6 trillion yen for the year ended March 31.

Japan's biggest fine stemming from an SESC probe was issued in 2015 to industrial group Toshiba, which was ordered to pay 7.37 billion yen over accounting violations.

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