Photo/IllutrationFormer Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn, center, was removed as chairman of Nissan on Nov. 22 and as chairman of Mitsubishi Motors Corp. on Nov. 26. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Scandal-hit Carlos Ghosn is suspected of having Nissan shoulder a private investment loss of about 1.7 billion yen ($15 million) in 2008, according to sources.

The former Nissan Motor Co. chairman was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of having under-reported his executive remuneration.

The Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission (SESC) has also obtained information about the transfer of the loss and told the bank concerned that the move could constitute a special breach of trust in violation of the Companies Law, the sources said Nov. 26.

The Special Investigation Department of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office is believed to have acquired the same information.

Ghosn’s asset management company concluded a contract with the bank over transactions of currency derivatives around 2006 when he was serving as the president of Nissan, according to the sources.

However, the company suffered a huge loss owing to the sharp rise in the yen caused by the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers in autumn 2008.

The market prices of bonds offered to the bank by the asset management company as collateral also dropped, and as a result, the collateral became insufficient.

The bank demanded that Ghosn offer additional collateral, but Ghosn instead proposed to transfer all of his rights concerning the contract, including the loss, to Nissan.

The bank accepted the proposal, and as a result, Nissan effectively shouldered the asset management company’s 1.7 billion yen loss.

In the rights-transfer negotiations, the bank demanded that Ghosn obtain approval for the transfer at a Nissan board of directors meeting. However, Ghosn rejected the request.

Considering Nissan's stature as a major company, the bank eventually accepted Ghosn’s proposal.

A Nissan executive close to Ghosn was involved in the negotiations with the bank.

According to the sources, the SESC became aware of the transfer when it conducted a regular inspection of the bank in 2008.

The commission told the bank that Ghosn’s practice could correspond to special breach of trust, as it could be interpreted that he transferred financial losses to the company for his own benefit.

It also told the bank that it could be considered an accomplice.

The special investigation department considers the transfer as a malicious act that shows that Ghosn used Nissan for his personal financial benefit.

Ghosn was arrested on Nov. 19 on suspicion of under-reporting his remuneration as a Nissan board member from fiscal 2010 to 2014 by about 5 billion yen, and is believed to have under-reported his remuneration from fiscal 2015 to 2017 by about 3 billion yen.

The former chairman is also suspected of having Nissan purchase luxury homes overseas used by his family members and of having the company give about $100,000 a year to his older sister, although she was doing nothing for the company.

Regarding the questionable acts, Nissan’s public relations department declined to comment, saying that the investigation is ongoing.