Syedur Rahman of business crime solicitors Rahman Ravelli outlines some of the car manufacturer's recent problems and considers whether more may follow.
Nissan has agreed to pay $15M and its former chairman Carlos Ghosn is paying $1M to settle federal regulators' civil fraud charges.
The settlement, announced by the US's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), relates to allegations that more than $140M in compensation and retirement benefits for Ghosn were kept hidden from investors.
As part of the settlement, Ghosn has also agreed to be barred for 10 years from serving as an officer or director of a public company. He is currently awaiting trial in Japan, where he is facing allegations of financial misconduct.
Ghosn, who was at the helm of Nissan for nearly 20 years, was arrested by Japanese authorities in Tokyo. He maintains his innocence and is currently out on bail, with the first hearing in his trial set for next April.
He and Nissan settled the civil fraud charges without admitting or denying the SEC's allegations. They agreed to refrain from any future anti-fraud violations of the securities laws. Attorneys representing Nissan declined to comment on the SEC settlement.
In a statement, Ghosn's team of lawyers stated that he will be able to contest and deny the allegations in the criminal case in Japan. In a statement, they said: "Mr. Ghosn and his defence team are now able to focus their efforts on continuing to vigorously fight the criminal case in Japan and pursue his claims against Nissan around the world. They remain confident that, if given a fair trial, he will be acquitted of all charges and fully vindicated."
From what has come out as a result of the SEC investigation and what appears to be a broadening of the pay scandal that brought down Carlos Ghosn, those within Nissan who have made allegations against him may have needed to look beyond the activities of their former chief executive officer and chairman. His successor has already stood down after allegations he had been improperly overpaid.
While Ghosn himself faces trial, it remains to be seen exactly how matters will proceed within Nissan and whether there is scope for further whistleblowing to be done.
Read the guide: Civil Fraud: Bringing A Claim Or Defending A Claim.
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