Nissan and Mitsubishi Say Carlon Ghosn Took $9 Million in Improper Payment—And They Want It Back

Nissan and Mitsubishi have accused their former common chairman, Carlos Ghosn, of giving himself an improper payment of almost $9 million from their Netherlands-headquartered joint venture, which was founded in 2017.

The companies conducted a joint investigation into the behavior of Ghosn, who is currently languishing behind bars in Japan thanks to an ever-increasing heap of financial-crimes charges. On Frida,y they issued the results, and they don’t paint a pretty picture.

It seems Ghosn, who was already a director of the joint venture, quietly signed a personal employment contract with it, garnering a total €7.8 million ($8.9 million) in compensation and other payments.

The arrangement required sign-off from the joint venture’s board of directors, which also included Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa and Mitsubishi Motors CEO Osamu Masuko. However, the companies said, neither of the two knew anything about it.

Nissan said in a statement that it viewed Ghosn’s payments as “the result of misconduct, and will consider measures to recover from Ghosn the full sum.”

“In addition, the investigation has also confirmed that soon after the announcement in 2016 that Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors would forge a strategic alliance, Ghosn, former representative director Greg Kelly and others began to explore the possibility of paying undisclosed compensation to Ghosn through an equally-owned Netherlands-based unconsolidated joint venture between the companies,” the statement read.

Ghosn this week lost his bid for bail, and will have to cool his heels in a Tokyo jail until his trial begins, in March at the earliest, but possibly later.

He stands accused of radically understating his income at Nissan and transferring personal losses to the company. (Ghosn denies the claims.) Nissan and Mitsubishi have sacked him. Renault has kept him on as chairman and CEO, pending further evidence of his misdeeds, but even the French automaker is now cutting him loose—it said Thursday that it had begun looking for new leadership.

Renault’s move follows a call from the government for the company to get rid of Ghosn.

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