Tokyo prosecutors have decided to seek a fresh arrest warrant for former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn on suspicion of failing to report around 4 billion yen ($35.5 million) of his remuneration in its securities statements for the three years through March, investigative sources said Tuesday.
Ghosn, who is being held at a Tokyo detention center, has already been accused of breaching the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act by stating only 5 billion yen of his 10 billion yen compensation during the five years through March 2015, in the securities reports submitted to Japanese regulators.
Along with Greg Kelly, a former Nissan representative director, Ghosn is expected to be served with a fresh arrest warrant on Dec. 10, when the detention period for the pair expires.
Ghosn and Kelly, who was arrested along with the former chairman on Nov. 19 for alleged conspiracy, have told the prosecutors that it was unnecessary to report some of the remuneration as the payments had yet to be settled, according to different sources with knowledge of the investigation.
However, the prosecutors believe the pay packages were settled as they have found multiple documents, including at least one bearing Ghosn's signature and the date, which specify the amount to be received after his retirement.
The unreported remuneration of the 64-year-old charismatic automotive industry figure, known for rescuing Nissan from the brink of bankruptcy in the 1990s, is believed to total 9 billion yen.
Ghosn's pay package is believed to have increased every year after fiscal 2010, including the unreported portion that he was planning to receive after his retirement.
Ghosn's actual compensation was less than 2 billion yen in fiscal 2010 but rose over the years, reaching about 2.5 billion yen each in the last two fiscal years, 2016 and 2017, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The remuneration paid by Nissan to Ghosn and other executives in fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2017 may have exceeded the 2.99 billion yen cap that was adopted at a general shareholders' meeting in 2008, after taking into account the former chairman's actual payments.
Under Nissan's rules, remuneration payments for each executive should be decided through talks involving the board's chair and representative directors. But the sources believe that Ghosn alone had been effectively deciding how much he was paid.
If served with a fresh arrest warrant, Ghosn could be detained through Dec. 30 based on Japan's Code of Criminal Procedure.
The Tokyo District Court approved Friday a request from the prosecutors to extend Ghosn's detention through Dec. 10, before which they have to decide whether to indict or release him.
Japanese law sets detention limits for a suspect of 23 days for an arrest warrant served by police and 22 days for a warrant served by prosecutors. However, authorities can add further charges with fresh warrants, meaning a person can be detained indefinitely if a court approves it.
While visits to the detention center are restricted, lawyers and embassy officials are allowed to meet with Ghosn, who holds Brazilian, French and Lebanese citizenship.
Some overseas media organizations have been critical of the way Ghosn has been treated since his arrest, as concern has grown about the length of his detention.
It is believed that Ghosn is being held in solitary confinement. A typical solitary confinement cell at the detention center is about 7 square meters in size and the room has a window, but it is impossible for a detainee to look outside, according to the Justice Ministry.