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Nissan's Ghosn crisis

Nissan found with undeclared tax on 150 million yen over Ghosn misdeeds

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japanese tax authorities have concluded that Nissan Motor Co. failed to pay tax on 150 million yen ($1.38 million) it had booked as business expenditures in the three years through March 2014, when Carlos Ghosn served as CEO and chairman, sources close to the matter said Tuesday.

The Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau apparently determined that the sum should not have been treated as tax-deductible business expenses as Ghosn used the company's money for private purposes.

For the undeclared tax over the three years, Nissan has been slapped with penalties in the tens of millions of yen, the sources said, adding, it could be taxed more as the bureau's investigations are ongoing.

In a statement released in September on its internal investigation, Nissan said Ghosn "directed or intended to direct a total of at least 15 billion yen in improper expenditures" by the Japanese automaker.

The misappropriation included donations, made at his behest, totaling more than $2 million of company funds to universities in Ghosn's home country of Lebanon "with no legitimate business purpose," and payments of more than $750,000 to his sister made via a fictitious consulting contract for over 10 years from 2003.

Ghosn, who was initially arrested in November last year, faces charges that he underreported his remuneration by several billions of yen over eight years at Nissan, and committed aggravated breach of trust.

A Nissan public relations official said, "We will decline to comment as the investigation by the tax authorities are ongoing but based on the internal probe, we plan to take necessary actions, including legal action to claim damages, to hold the former chairman and others accountable for their deeds."

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