Sept. 23 (UPI) -- U.S. federal regulators said Monday they have settled fraud charges against Japanese automaker Nissan and former CEO Carlos Ghosn that said he filed phony financial disclosures to hide more than $140 million in retirement money.
The Securities and Exchange Commission had charged Nissan with violating anti-fraud laws -- accusations the automaker agreed to settle by paying a $15 million civil penalty.
The SEC complaint said Ghosn also violated the laws and agreed to be permanently enjoined from violating or aiding violations. Ghosn also agreed to pay a $1 million civil penalty and be barred from serving as an officer and director for 10 years.
"Investors are entitled to know how, and how much, a company compensates its top executives," Stephanie Avakian, co-director of SEC enforcement, said in a statement. "Ghosn ... went to great lengths to conceal this information from investors and the market."
The SEC also said Nissan former director Greg Kelly helped Ghosn create a scheme to hide more than $90 million from public disclosure and also took steps to increase the chief executive's retirement allowance by $50 million.
"Simply put, Nissan's disclosures about Ghosn's compensation were false," added Steven Peikin, co-director of SEC enforcement. "Through these disclosures, Nissan advanced Ghosn and Kelly's deceptions and misled investors, including U.S. investors."
Ghosn is jailed in Japan and still faces Japanese charges of diverting company funds to a Saudi businessman and underreporting the compensation.
The SEC said Kelly agreed to pay a $100,000 penalty and is barred from serving in the same position for five years. Nissan, Ghosn, and Kelly all settled without admitting or denying the accusations.