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Nissan's Ghosn crisis

US securities watchdog investigates Nissan on executive pay

Automaker began 'fully cooperating' with SEC after Ghosn's arrest

Nissan has "received an inquiry from the SEC" and is "fully cooperating with the investigation", the company said.(Photo by Kosaku Mimura)

TOKYO -- Nissan Motor is under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission regarding its disclosure practices on executive pay, the automaker said on Monday.

Nissan has "received an inquiry from the SEC" and is "fully cooperating with the investigation," a company spokeswoman said.

Nissan shares trade in the U.S. via American Depositary Receipts.

Following the November arrest and detention of Carlos Ghosn, the automaker's former chairman, due to Ghosn's alleged failure to fully report his compensation, the U.S. watchdog began examining the matter. It is also looking into whether the company maintained adequate controls to prevent improper remuneration.

Ghosn was arrested after his jet landed at Tokyo's Haneda Airport on Nov. 19. Greg Kelly, formerly a representative director at Nissan, was also arrested.

Both executives have been charged with underreporting Ghosn's salary for two periods -- the three years from fiscal 2015 to 2017, and the five years from fiscal 2010 to 2014. In all, Tokyo prosecutors say, the two understated Ghosn's compensation by around 9.1 billion yen ($83 million) over eight years.

Nissan as a corporation has also been indicted.

Although Kelly was granted bail after a month, Ghosn remains in the Tokyo detention house. The executive once known as "Le Cost Cutter" has also been charged with aggravated breach of trust for transferring personal foreign exchange losses to Nissan.

Ghosn and Kelly deny any misconduct. Ghosn told the court at the beginning of the month that he had been "wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated accusations."

Nissan shares fell on Monday, at one point to 903 yen, nearly 3% below last week's close. The stock finished the day's trading at 920.3 yen, 1% below their final Friday price.

The shares began their decline following a Bloomberg report on the SEC action.

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