Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn arrested for under-reporting income

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Nissan Motor said on Monday its internal investigations showed its chairman Carlos Ghosn had under-reported his income and had committed other misconduct.

VideoNissan said it's recommending that the board fire its chairman, Carlos Ghosn, after authorities arrested him for alleged financial misconduct.

Nissan did not comment on the scope of the alleged misdealing, but other Japanese news agencies reported that Ghosn underreported his income by $44.3 million (5 billion yen) over five years.

The news of Ghosn's downfall emerged unexpectedly on Monday evening, with local media first reporting he was being questioned by prosecutors and that Nissan's headquarters was being raided.

Nissan's board has said it will seek his removal after a months-long inquiry prompted by a whistle-blower uncovered "significant acts of misconduct".

Brazilian-born, of Lebanese descent and a French citizen, he is one of the few foreigners in such a senior position in Japan.

The compensation from Nissan was only a part of Mr Ghosn's overall income since he also was paid salaries by the vehicle maker's alliance partners Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motor Corp. He told reporters that the investigation had identified "serious misconduct".

Also, while Ghosn may have been the face of Nissan, his departure's impact on business overall could be limited, as in recent years he did not appear to have been heavily involved in daily operations.

Ghosn has been contemplating his career moves as the companies plan to change the pact's structure, possibly through a merger. He said in September that he will continue to pare back his roles at the three individual companies, while continuing to head their alliance.

Nissan's Saikawa was asked if Ghosn was a good or bad leader.

He also led the French carmaker through massive job cuts and a costly, contentious bailout amid the world financial meltdown a decade ago and what he called a "crisis of massive proportions" for the auto industry.

Still, some degree of uncertainty remains with Mitsubishi Motors, which joined the alliance in 2016 when Ghosn gave a helping hand to the Tokyo-based automaker after it found itself mired in a fuel-efficiency scandal.

Stock prices for Nissan's partner Renault fell by as much as 13% on the news that Ghosn was to be ousted.

Past year he denied a report the alliance was planning to pay hidden bonuses to its executives by setting up a company in the Netherlands. So with Ghosn out at Nissan and probably Renault as well, the companies are unlikely to get any closer.

Nissan said in a statement that its CEO Hiroto Saikawa would propose to its board that Ghosn and Kelly both be removed from their posts.

Mr Ghosn joined Nissan in 1999 after Renault bought a controlling stake and became its CEO in 2001, remaining in that post until a year ago. "But over these 19 years we have been developing many things", Saikawa said.

The partnership between Nissan and Renault started in 1999.

The announcement sent shockwaves through the automotive industry where Mr Ghosn, 64, is seen as titan, responsible for a dramatic turnaround at Nissan in the early 2000s.

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