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)

Documents on an agreement between Nissan Motor Co. and its former chairman Carlos Ghosn to defer half his remuneration show his signature and the signature of a senior official at the company’s secretary’s office, sources said.

The senior official is apparently cooperating with Tokyo prosecutors over the alleged under-reporting of Ghosn’s pay package in the company’s financial statements under the plea bargaining system introduced into Japan earlier this year.

The documents in question stated that Ghosn’s annual pay is about 2 billion yen ($17.7 million) although only half the sum was actually paid and the other half deferred.

They also stated that such an arrangement is based on the compensation contract that Ghosn reached when he joined Nissan in 1999 to turn around the troubled automaker.

A document that showed 2011 as the date of creation listed his remuneration for fiscal 2009 and fiscal 2010, according to the sources.

Another document stating 2013 as the date of creation showed his income for fiscal 2011 and fiscal 2012.

Both documents bore the signatures of Ghosn and the senior official at the secretary’s office.

Investigators at the Special Investigation Department of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office believe that Greg Kelly, a former representative director of Nissan, masterminded the scheme to defer Ghosn’s remaining annual income until after his retirement as a Nissan board member, according to the sources.

Ghosn and Kelly allegedly planned to make such a payment under the guise of consulting or contract fees.

Investigators have also obtained a paper listing the pretext for the deferred payment that bore the signatures of Kelly and Nissan President and CEO Hiroto Saikawa, according to the sources.

Kelly has told investigators that the paper in question is merely a written plan on Ghosn’s post-retirement treatment and that it is not related to Ghosn’s remuneration.

He has also said he has no knowledge of the existence of the written agreement on Ghosn’s deferred payment.

Tokyo prosecutors are seeking to establish the case against the two for the under-reporting of about 9 billion yen in Ghosn’s income from fiscal 2010 to fiscal 2017. They were arrested in Tokyo on Nov. 19.

As for Saikawa’s signature on the document on the pretext for the deferred payment, investigators believe that he signed it without being fully aware of the existence of the documents concerning the deferred payment of his remuneration.

A Nissan public relations official declined to comment on the existence of Saikawa’s signature, citing the ongoing investigation by prosecutors.