The national flag of Japan, left, and national flag of France, centre, fly beside a Nissan Motor branded flag outside the vehiclemaker's headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, in this November 20 2018 file photo. Picture: BLOOMBERG/AKIO KON
The national flag of Japan, left, and national flag of France, centre, fly beside a Nissan Motor branded flag outside the vehiclemaker's headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, in this November 20 2018 file photo. Picture: BLOOMBERG/AKIO KON

Tokyo — Nissan on Monday said it was the target of a US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) inquiry, as the Japanese carmaker itself faces scrutiny in a financial scandal it has blamed on ousted chair Carlos Ghosn.

Nissan has said Ghosn, first arrested on November 19 for financial misconduct, masterminded various financial improprieties including under-reporting his income. Ghosn has denied wrongdoing.

Japanese prosecutors have charged Nissan along with Ghosn for under-reporting his pay, and Bloomberg earlier reported that the US regulator was investigating the company’s disclosures on executive pay.

Bloomberg, citing sources, said the SEC is examining whether the company maintained adequate controls to prevent improper payments. 

Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported that the SEC also sent a request for information to Ghosn. A representative for Ghosn could not immediately be reached for comment.

A Nissan spokesperson confirmed the automaker received an inquiry from the US regulator, without giving further details. The SEC was not immediately available to comment on the matter.

Nissan shares fell 0.8% to ¥920.3, compared with a 0.6% decline in the Nikkei average.

Japanese companies have been the target of SEC inquiries before, including Toyota over its handling of safety problems. Nissan’s American Depositary Receipts trade in the US over-the-counter market. 

Reuters