Payments to Ghosn's Friend Seen Made from CEO Reserves

Society

Tokyo, Dec. 23 (Jiji Press)--Former Nissan Motor Co. <7201> Chairman Carlos Ghosn is believed to have ordered payments to a Saudi friend of his using the "CEO reserves" at the Japanese automaker, informed sources said Sunday.

Tokyo public prosecutors found that a total of 14.7 million dollars were paid to a company run by the friend from an account held by a Nissan subsidiary in four installments during June 2009 and March 2012.

But the money actually came from reserves at Nissan that were used by Ghosn, then chief executive officer, on his own discretion to cover unbudgeted spending such as consolatory payments, the sources said.

The Saudi billionaire, whom Ghosn has known for some 30 years, provided credit guarantee when Ghosn's asset management company was asked to offer additional collateral by Shinsei Bank after the Ghosn side incurred appraisal losses totaling some 1.85 billion yen in currency swap transactions under a contract with the Japanese bank, according to the sources.

The prosecutors suspect that the money disbursed from the Ghosn reserves was a reward for the credit guarantee. But Ghosn claims that the payment was made to solve troubles involving Nissan and cover the company's lobbying, the sources said.

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