New allegations against Ghosn concerning payments to a Saudi businessman
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New allegations of financial irregularities filed by plaintiffs in Tokyo against the company's chief executive Carlos Ghosn are centered around using the company's money to make payments to a Saudi businessman believed to have helped Ghosn overcome financial difficulties, two sources familiar with Nissan said.
Prosecutors were arrested for the third time last Friday, accusing him of treason by charging the company losses of personal investments incurred.
Prosecutors said they believed Ghosn tried in October 2008 to deal with losses estimated at 1.85 billion yen ($ 16.6 million) in a swap deal with a bank whose name was not disclosed.
The statement added that a person helped arrange a letter of credit for Ghosn and that a company managed by that person later received $ 14.7 million of Nissan's money in four installments between 2009 and 2012 and that payments were paid to Ghosn.
The two sources familiar with Nissan's investigation of its former boss said the person who helped Ghosn was Khalid al-Jafali, vice president of Ibrahim al-Jafali and Brothers, one of Saudi Arabia's largest companies. Jafali is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency.
Jafali owns majority stake in Al Dahana, which owns half of a joint regional company, Nissan Gulf, while Nissan Motor has the other half.
A statement sent by e-mail from Ibrahim Al-Jafali and Brothers, said that there is no comment on Sheikh Khaled Al-Jafali on this subject.
A person who responded by telephone to Mutunari Otsuru, Tokyo-based lawyer, said Otsuru was unavailable for comment.
A representative of Ghosn's family declined to comment.
Other media reported that Ghosn had denied through a lawyer the transfer of losses to Nissan and had told investigators that the four payment installments were for legitimate commercial purposes, including a reward for addressing problems with Nissan distributors in Saudi Arabia.
Prosecutors in Tokyo declined to comment. "We can not comment on matters related to Ghosn's arrest for treason," a spokesman for Nissan said in response to comments attributed to Ghosn. "Nissan's investigation is ongoing and its scope is widening."