By Carlo Versano
The chairman of Nissan Motors was arrested following a whistleblower report that he had under-reported his compensation and used company assets for his personal benefit, according to reports in Japanese media. The arrest follows a statement from Nissan confirming that it was investigating "serious misconduct" by Chairman Carlos Ghosn and another high-level official.
The company said it would seek to remove Ghosn from his position.
Ghosn was appointed CEO of Nissan in 2001 following his successful efforts to restructure the French auto giant Renault, and transitioned last year into a role as board chairman. He also serves as chairman and CEO of Renault, as well as chair of Nissan of Mitsubishi, through a unique corporate alliance between the three automakers. Ghosn is widely credited with saving both Renault and Nissan from bankruptcy.
The extent of the misconduct allegations, or the arrest charges, were unclear as of Monday morning. Ghosn had been under investigation following a report that he had lied about his salary in Tokyo Stock Exchange disclosures with the help of Greg Kelly, a board director.
In a statement, Nissan added:
"Also, in regards to Ghosn, numerous other significant acts of misconduct have been uncovered, such as personal use of company assets, and Kelly's deep involvement has also been confirmed."
Ghosn had been criticized for his salary of about $9 million ー exorbitant by Japanese standards.