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Report: Nissan uncovers possible cover-up of unit used to buy Ghosn luxury homes

An internal investigation by Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. revealed a possible attempt to conceal the activities of a Dutch subsidiary whose funds were used to buy luxury properties for then-Chairman Carlos Ghosn, the Nikkei Asian Review reported Jan. 16, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Nissan founded Zi-A Capital in the Netherlands in 2010 as a subsidiary but by the fall of 2011, it reportedly became an unconsolidated unit and was allegedly distanced from the parent by inserting other companies between it and Nissan.

According to the report, money from Zi-A was used to buy luxury homes in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Beirut, Lebanon worth about $5.8 million and $9.5 million, respectively. In addition, about $7.2 million worth of funds from the unit were spent on remodeling the Lebanon home.

Ghosn asked a Nissan executive over email to reply to contractors who were complaining due to delayed payments, the report added.

The Nissan probe was also unable to confirm if one of Ghosn's sisters, who was appointed as a consultant for charitable activities and was paid $755,000 from 2003 to 2016, performed any tasks related to that role, the Nikkei reported.

Ghosn was arrested in November 2018 for suspected violation of Japan's financial trading laws, and was ousted as Nissan's chairman a few days later. He remains imprisoned in Japan after prosecutors added up accusations of financial misconduct.

Ghosn denied all allegations against him during a Jan. 8 court hearing. On Jan. 15, a Tokyo district court refused him bail.