Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn arrested after company accuses him of misconduct

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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.

Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, responds to a question on the alliance's new venture capital fund during roundtable with journalists at the 2018 CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. January 9, 2018.

According to NHK and the Kyodo News Service, Nissan paid Ghosn almost $89 million over five years through March 2015, including salary and other income from the company, but reported as if he only made 5 billion yen ($44 million), or half of what he had received.

Yokohama-based Nissan Motor said it is cooperating with prosecutors in their investigation.

A Japanese paper reports Ghosn has been arrested by Tokyo prosecutors, but that has yet to be confirmed.

Nissan's CEO Hiroto Saikawa said at a press conference that too much power had been concentrated in Ghosn's hands.

The alliance sold 10.6 million vehicles previous year, more than one in nine of worldwide auto sales. The two executives were accused of conspiring to underreport Ghosn's salary for a number of years and using company assets for personal purposes.

Brazilian-born, of Lebanese descent and a French citizen, Ghosn began his career at Michelin in France, moving on to Renault. Additionally, he serves as the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance chairman.

A statement by Philippe Lagayette, lead independent director of Renault, along with Renault Board Committee Chairs Marie-Annick Darmaillac and Patrick Thomas, said the three "wish to express their dedication to the defense of Renault's interest in the Alliance". Le Maire said he had asked French tax authorities to examine Ghosn's affairs and that they had found nothing of particular note.

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Ghosn is suspected of failing to report hundreds of millions of dollars in income.

Mr Saikawa said he would propose at a board meeting on Thursday to remove Mr Ghosn.

"This is an act that can not be tolerated by the company", he said.

A Nissan technician inspects the grill of a new 2016 Altima on the assembly line at the Nissan Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant in the US.

Renault shares fell as much as 15 per cent in Paris on Monday, the lowest in nearly four years in the wake of the scandal, while Nissan global depository receipts dropped more than 11 per cent.

Ghosn added Mitsubishi to the alliance two years ago after the tiny automaker was caught in a gas-mileage cheating scandal.

In March, sources close to the matter told Reuters the alliance partners were discussing plans for a closer tie-up in which Nissan would acquire the bulk of the French state's 15 percent stake in Renault. The actual amount he made was hundreds of millions of yen more, say people familiar with the matter.

Mr Ghosn, a foreign top executive in Japan, has been credited in the past as having turned Nissan around from near bankruptcy.

Ousting Ghosn, 64, is bound to raise questions about the future of the alliance that he personally shaped and had pledged to consolidate with a deeper tie-up, before eventually stepping back from its operational leadership.