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Carlos Ghosn ousted from Nissan, arrested in Japan [update]

by Ronan Glon

Ghosn will likely step down from his CEO role at Renault, too.

Carlos Ghosn will step down from his position as Nissan's chairman after an internal investigation linked him to a long list of wrong-doings including under-reporting his income to Japanese authorities, the company confirmed in a statement.

Nissan explained that, for many years, Ghosn and representative director Greg Kelly under-reported their respective income in reports filed to the Tokyo Stock Exchange securities. The company didn't detail the amounts involved or precisely how long this practice has been going on for.

The investigation started several months ago when an anonymous whistleblower spoke up about Ghosn's income discrepancy. Nissan's investigators have also uncovered "numerous other significant acts of misconduct," including Ghosn's personal use of company assets. The firm's statement notes that the investigation has confirmed "Kelly's deep involvement." Both men could face charges in Japan.

"Nissan's chief executive officer Hiroto Saikawa will propose to the board of directors to promptly remove Ghosn from his positions as chairman and representative director. Saikawa will also propose the removal of Greg Kelly from his position as representative director," the company said in a statement. There's no word yet on who will replace them.

Ghosn hasn't commented on the charges. He's also the chairman and CEO of Renault, the CEO of the Renault-Nissan alliance, and the chairman of Mitsubishi. It's unclear whether he will retain these functions or if he will be asked to step down from them, too. The 64-year old was planning on gradually relinquishing his power in the coming years but the allegations will speed up the process.

Update: Japanese newspaper Yomiuri reports Ghosn has been arrested.