Nissan Motor Co. and Carlos Ghosn settled U.S. regulators' claims that they failed to disclose more than $140 million in pay to the embattled ex-chairman, one of the first legal accords in a saga that has put the automaker on its heels and tarnished the reputation of a business icon.
Nissan was fined $15 million over the allegations, while Mr. Ghosn, 65, was hit with a $1 million penalty, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Monday in a statement.
The SEC said the Japan-based automaker granted Mr. Ghosn broad authority over the company's pay decisions, with the startling power to set compensation for himself, other executives and directors. That ultimately led to Mr. Ghosn — with substantial assistance from his subordinates — excluding more than $90 million of his own pay from Nissan's public statements to investors. Mr. Ghosn additionally took steps to increase his retirement allowance by $50 million, according to the regulator.
The SEC also reached a settlement with former Nissan director Greg Kelly, who agreed to pay a $100,000 fine over allegations that he helped hide Mr. Ghosn's pay. Mr. Ghosn was barred from serving as a director or officer of a public company for 10 years, while Mr. Kelly agreed to a five-year ban. Nissan, Messrs. Ghosn and Kelly, 63, all resolved the cases without admitting or denying wrongdoing.