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Nissan's Ghosn crisis

Nissan probe suggests cover-up of unit used to buy Ghosn homes

Dutch company provided millions of dollars for properties in Rio and Beirut

Former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn had homes purchased for him in Brazil and Lebanon through a Dutch subsidiary whose relationship to the automaker was obscured, an internal probe finds.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- A Dutch subsidiary used to purchase luxury homes for then-Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn was distanced from the automaker using a chain of companies, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday, suggesting a possible effort to conceal its activities.

Zi-A Capital was established in the Netherlands as a Nissan subsidiary in 2010.

In the fall of 2011, it was downgraded to an unconsolidated unit less connected to Nissan than a sub-subsidiary by wedging other companies in between it and the parent, a Nissan internal probe found, according to the people.

Funds from Zi-A went toward buying a roughly $5.8 million Rio de Janeiro home in January 2012 and a $9.5 million property in Beirut that May.

Nissan is weighing whether to seek damages from Ghosn, who was arrested in Tokyo this past Nov. 19 and fired as chairman days later.

Zi-A also provided Ghosn with an extra $7.2 million to remodel the Beirut residence. Ghosn apparently emailed a Nissan executive to request a quick response to complaints from contractors over late payments.

Nissan also hired one of Ghosn's sisters as a consultant for charitable activities, paying her about $755,000 from 2003 to 2016. The automaker's probe did not confirm whether she performed any activities in that role.

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