Japan’s markets watchdog recommends $22 million fine for Nissan

Images of Nissan Tiida

Japan’s markets watchdog stated on Tuesday that it has recommended that Nissan Motor should be fined about 2.4 billion yen ($22 million) concerning the underreporting of former chairman Carlos Ghosn’s compensation.

The fine would concern the four financial years from April 2014 to March 2018, markets watchdog the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission (SESC) stated.

Ghosn was arrested in Tokyo in November 2018 over accusations of financial misconduct, including understating his salary by around 9.1 billion yen over a period of almost a decade and temporarily shifting personal financial losses to the books of Nissan. Ghosn has rejected any wrongdoing.

Due to the statute of limitations, Nissan is not responsible for underreporting before the financial year starting April 2014, an SESC official informed a press briefing. Japan’s financial regulator the Financial Services Agency will make a final decision on the fine.

A 2.4 billion yen fine would be the second-largest ever imposed in Japan for misleading reporting in a corporate financial statement, behind a 7.3 billion yen fine imposed on Toshiba in 2015, according to the SESC.

Nissan stated that it was taking the SESC’s recommendations seriously. “We express the deepest regret to stakeholders for any trouble caused. We will continue efforts to strengthen governance and compliance to ensure accuracy of corporate information disclosure,” it stated.

The SESC acknowledged misleading reporting by Nissan based on its investigation, the official informed reporters.

Nissan’s new chief executive, Makoto Uchida, pledged on his first day in the role on December 2 to fix profitability and stated setting realistic targets would be significant to that goal, as Nissan attempts to make a clean break from Ghosn’s leadership.

Reuters in June cited a source stating Nissan would be fined up to 4 billion yen and that it may get a reduced fine of around 2.4 billion yen if the automaker submitted documentation to the SESC before an official investigation begins.

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