Under the leadership of Carlos Ghosn, Nissan recovered from their troubles in the 1990's, but much quicker was his downfall. Last month, Chairman Ghosn and fellow Nissan director Greg Kelly were arrested by Japanese authorities, leading to the board of Nissan voting out Ghosn as Chairman.
Tokyo prosecutors have now charged Ghosn and Greg Kelly for violating the Japan Financial Instruments and Exchange Act, namely for under-declaring the former chairman's annual income over a five year period.
But just when it seemed that Nissan would be able to cleanly distance themselves from the ensuing mess, there occurred a plot twist: Nissan Motor Company has also been charged for the same violation.
In an official statement, Nissan made no clarification as to why they are being charged, only that they were indicted as a “legal entity”.
“Nissan takes this situation extremely seriously. Making false disclosures in annual securities reports greatly harms the integrity of Nissan’s public disclosures in the securities markets, and the company expresses its deepest regret,” the company said in a statement.
According to various reports, Ghosn and Kelly are said to have collaborated to under-report Ghosn's Nissan income by around 5 billion yen in a span of five years since 2011 up to March 2015. This was only discovered when an internal audit was made.
The automaker further adds that they “will continue its efforts to strengthen its governance and compliance, including making accurate disclosures of corporate information”.
Ghosn has been ousted as chairman not only Nissan but by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation as well. Ghosn has also been temporarily replaced as CEO of French automaker Renault.
The three automakers make up the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. While the crisis has brought up plenty of speculation surrounding the future of the tripartite alliance, they released a collective statement that they remain committed to working together.
If found guilty, Ghosn and Kelly could face up to a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to 10 million yen. Both of the executives have yet to publicly respond to the allegations.
As of this writing, both currently remain in the custody of Japanese authorities.