Photo/IllutrationCarlos Ghosn speaks during an interview in Hong Kong in April. (AP file photo)

Carlos Ghosn, former chairman of Nissan Motor Co., is suspected of having plotted to conceal his post-retirement remuneration under guises such as consultant fees, sources said.

The Special Investigation Department of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office suspects that the company tried to hide the nature of the planned payments, which were actually part of his compensation, they said.

The special investigation department has confiscated documents that describe the plan and apparently considers them as evidence that the post-retirement payments had been decided.

Ghosn, 64, was arrested on Nov. 19 on suspicion of under-reporting his remuneration for the five-year period from fiscal 2010 to 2014 by about 5 billion yen ($44 million).

During the period, he allegedly received a total of about 10 billion yen, or 2 billion yen each year, but reported only 5 billion yen on Nissan’s securities reports.

The reporting of incorrect information constitutes a violation of the Financial Instruments and Exchange Law.

According to the sources, Ghosn concluded with Nissan every year an agreement to receive about 1 billion yen of his annual remuneration of 2 billion yen and disclose it, and receive the remaining 1 billion yen after retirement.

Including the three-year period from fiscal 2015 to 2017, the compensation to be paid after retirement is believed to amount to about 9 billion yen during the eight-year period from 2010 to 2017.

However, the post-retirement payments were not listed in financial statements, such as profit-and-loss sheets and balance sheets, as unpaid wages or reserves. The finance department or an auditing company were not aware of those deferred payments, the sources said.

Under the Financial Instruments and Exchange Law, Nissan was required to list the post-retirement payments in financial statements to pay the remuneration to Ghosn after his retirement.

However, to conceal that the payments were part of his compensation, Ghosn planned to list them under different names, such as consultant fees or contract fees that prohibit him from working for rival carmakers, the sources said.

The sources also said that former Nissan representative director Greg Kelly, 62, who was an aide to Ghosn, admitted to the existence of “employment contract documents” on treatments of Ghosn after his retirement.

According to the sources, Kelly calculated post-retirement payments to Ghosn in two scenarios. One is if Ghosn left only Nissan. The other was a situation in which he left both Nissan and Renault SA of France, in which Ghosn was chairman and CEO.

Kelly said he signed both documents and was considering offering not only cash but also Nissan shares to Ghosn, the sources said.

However, Kelly has contended that the contract had yet to be concluded because the post-retirement compensation was under consideration, and that the documents had no relationship to Ghosn's remuneration, the sources said.

Ghosn, who is being detained at the Tokyo Detention House, has denied the allegations against him, the sources said.

He was quoted as saying that it was not necessary to list the post-retirement payments in the company’s securities reports because they had yet to be decided.