Wall Street Journal article too. Super long and detailed.https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-fall-o ... 1545003310
The Fall of the House of Ghosn
Not everybody at Nissan was happy with their rock-star chairman, Carlos Ghosn. His high-living ways gave the company ammunition to take him down.
By Sean McLain, Phred Dvorak, Sam Schechner and Patricia Kowsmann
Dec. 16, 2018 6:35 p.m. ET
Little did Mr. Ghosn know that the forces that would eventually topple him were gathering. Nissan’s audit firm, Ernst & Young, continued to raise questions each year about Zi-A Capital, the entity through which the homes for Mr. Ghosn were purchased, says a person briefed on the matter. Those flags came to the attention of Hidetoshi Imazu, a quiet manufacturing veteran at Nissan who became compliance auditor for the board in 2014—a job that involves policing the actions of directors, according to people familiar with the probe.
Mr. Imazu was trying to figure out what Zi-A was doing, but was stymied by the chain of shell companies it used in places like the British Virgin Islands, two of the people said.
So around June, Mr. Imazu sought help from one of Zi-A’s directors, a Malaysia-born British-educated lawyer named Hari Nada, who was running global compliance as well as the CEO’s office, two of the people said.
Mr. Nada was a protégé of Mr. Kelly and had been listed as a Zi-A director since 2012, along with Mr. Kelly, according to company filings. He took Mr. Imazu to talk to Zi-A’s third director, Toshiaki Onuma, a longtime support staffer for Mr. Ghosn who handled paperwork for the deferred compensation, according to corporate documents and a person with knowledge of Nissan’s probe.
As the three compared notes, Mr. Imazu began to get a fuller picture of the money Nissan was spending on Mr. Ghosn and the amount of deferred compensation, which by this year totaled around $80 million, according to prosecutors’ allegations and people familiar with the probe
The group reached out to lawyers who could help them interpret what they were seeing and figure out whether any of it constituted criminal activity by Mr. Ghosn or others inside the company, said people with knowledge of the probe. Among the lawyers were ex-prosecutors who helped the executives take advantage of a new law that took effect in June and allowed criminal suspects to bargain for leniency in exchange for helping authorities.
By the end of the summer, the Nissan group had consulted informally with Japanese prosecutors, and in early October, those prosecutors decided they had a case, according to people familiar with the probe. Mr. Imazu and his group drew up a formal whistleblower report, stating that a Nissan unit was being used to provide homes for Mr. Ghosn at no cost, and that the directors’ compensation information on financial filings was incomplete, one of the people said.
Only then did they bring everything to Mr. Saikawa, who had taken over as Nissan’s CEO in 2017 as Mr. Ghosn’s handpicked successor, the person said. Mr. Saikawa had known nothing of the group’s maneuverings. Initially, Mr. Saikawa expressed incredulity at the allegations against his mentor, according to the person. Mr. Saikawa established a formal investigation that reported to him directly, the person said. Mr. Nada began collecting documents related to the properties, flying to Rio to seek deeds, according to emails viewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Mr. Nada also began laying the groundwork for an elaborate operation to seize Mr. Ghosn as well as evidence to help the prosecutors’ case.
Nissan’s investigators didn’t want to confront Mr. Ghosn directly since they were fearful that he would have the power to crush the probe once he found out, say several people with knowledge of the matter. Instead, ...
2016 Leaf SV purchased 10/2018 with 62k miles. Manufactured 10/2015 with first owner at 8/2016.