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2 Nissan execs avoid prosecution under plea deal

Nissan's Global headquarters are pictured in Yokohama's Nishi Ward. (Mainichi/Hiroshi Maruyama)

TOKYO -- The special investigative unit of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office has decided not to charge two Nissan Motor Co. executives in connection with the arrest of former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn after striking a plea deal with them, those familiar with the case have disclosed.

Ghosn, 65, faces charges including violating the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act by underreporting his remuneration in financial statements, and aggravated breach of trust in violation of the Companies Act by allegedly shifting his personal investment losses to the company.

Sources close to the investigation said that two Nissan executives, a senior vice president of foreign nationality and a Japanese national who was formerly an executive at the company's secretariat, had cooperated with public prosecutors in plea bargaining between October and November last year. They are said to have handed public prosecutors materials relating to the charges against Ghosn of underreporting his income, as well as information relating to suspicions that Ghosn had Nissan provide luxury housing in Brazil and Lebanon.

Ghosn's case is the second in which public prosecutors applied plea bargaining since the new system was launched in Japan in June last year. Public prosecutors used information they obtained through the plea bargaining to charge suspects including Ghosn with violating the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act. They later additionally filed charges against Ghosn of illicitly sending money to an acquaintance in Saudi Arabia, and having Nissan's assets circulated to him through Oman -- incidents which were not subject to plea bargaining.

The two executives who participated in the plea deal were suspected of involvement in the case against Ghosn of violating the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act, but public prosecutors reached a deal with them and shelved charges. It is believed the decision not to charge them was made now as the current stage of investigations has reached a juncture.

The special investigative unit hit Ghosn with his fourth indictment on April 22, and procedures are now expected to advance toward his trial.

Nissan as a corporation has also been charged with violating the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act.

(Japanese original by Kazuhiro Toyama, Kim Suyeong, and Kazuya Shimura, City News Department)

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