Photo/IllutrationCarlos Ghosn, left, and Greg Kelly when they were Nissan Motor Co.’s chairman and a representative director, respectively (From Nissan Motor Co. website)

A former Nissan Motor Co. executive said the company was told by outside experts that it was not necessary to disclose planned post-retirement payments to former chairman Carlos Ghosn, sources said.

Greg Kelly, 62, a former representative director, also named the offices of lawyers and accountants contacted by the secretary's office for Ghosn, 64, the sources said.

Kelly’s statement highlights the conflict between the two former Nissan executives and the Special Investigation Department of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office over the legality of the post-retirement payments.

Ghosn and Kelly were arrested on Nov. 19 on suspicion of under-reporting Ghosn’s annual remuneration during a five-year period from fiscal 2010 to 2014. Writing false information on a company’s securities reports constitutes a violation of the Financial Instruments and Exchange Law.

The pair are also alleged to have under-reported Ghosn's remuneration during a three-year period from fiscal 2015 to 2017, the sources said.

According to the sources, Ghosn’s annual remuneration came to about 2 billion yen ($17.7 million) during the eight years from fiscal 2010 to 2017.

However, they drew up documents that gave Ghosn an annual disclosed sum of about 1 billion yen, with the remaining 1 billion yen deferred until after Ghosn’s retirement.

By doing so, they are alleged to have concealed around 9 billion yen during those eight years and planned to pay the sum in the guise of consultant or contract fees after Ghosn's retirement.

Kelly said that Ghosn's post-retirement package bore no relation with his remuneration as a Nissan board member, the sources said.

Kelly also said that at his behest, the secretary’s office for Ghosn asked a law office and an accountant office about possible legal problems with the post-retirement payments.

He said the secretary's office confirmed that there was no obligation to disclose the payments because they did not constitute remuneration for work Ghosn had done during the period.

Kelly emphasized that the confirmation was made by Nissan.

With regard to documents the special investigation department views as strong evidence of wrongdoing, Kelly said that when he showed them to Ghosn, he repeatedly told his boss that they did not guarantee he would get the money after he retired, the sources said.