Nissan paying $15M, Ghosn $1M to settle SEC fraud charges

24 Septembre, 2019, 03:53 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Nissan was fined $15m while Ghosn 65 was hit with a $1m penalty the SEC said in a Monday statement

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commision filed a lawsuit on Monday against former Nissan Motor 7201.T chief executive Carlos Ghosn over claims he took part in a scheme to hide from public disclosure more than $90 million (72.4 million pounds) in compensation, the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of New York City showed. The SEC also charged former board member Greg Kelly aiding in the fraud.

The SEC said "Ghosn and his subordinates, including Kelly, crafted various ways to structure payment of the undisclosed compensation after Ghosn's retirement, such as entering into secret contracts, backdating letters to grant Ghosn interests in Nissan's Long Term Incentive Plan, and changing the calculation of Ghosn's pension allowance to provide more than $50 million in additional benefits".

Ghosn and Nissan Motor Co. settled the charges without admitting or denying the SEC's allegations, but agreed to refrain from future anti-fraud violations of the securities laws. Ghosn was barred from serving as a director or officer of a public company for 10 years, while Kelly agreed to a five-year ban.

"The settlement specifically allows Mr Ghosn to continue to fight the allegations against him in Japan, which Mr Ghosn intends to pursue vigorously", it said, expressing confidence he will eventually be acquitted. Ghosn, 65, is awaiting trial in Japan on financial misconduct charges in a criminal case.

The announcement said compensation adding up to more than 140 million dollars, which was to be paid to Ghosn during his retirement, had been omitted from Nissan's financial disclosures.

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"Investors are entitled to know how, and how much, a company compensates its top executives". "Through these disclosures, Nissan advanced Ghosn and Kelly's deceptions and misled investors, including USA investors". The first hearing in the trial has been set for April. "We are satisfied with the conclusion of the USA case", said a statement from attorneys representing Ghosn.

Avakian also said Nissan had misrepresented Ghosn's pension allowance to investors, a move that "advanced Ghosn and Kelly's deceptions and misled investors, including U.S. investors".

In a statement issued in Japan, Nissan noted that it had cooperated with the SEC's investigation.

"Nissan is firmly committed to continuing to further cultivate robust corporate governance", the statement said.

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