Automaker Nissan on Monday accused its chairman, president and chief executive officer Carlos Ghosn of "significant acts of misconduct" including underreporting his salary and said it would move to fire him, as reports emerged that he had been arrested in Tokyo.
Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn is expected to be ousted from his role at the company at the recommendation of CEO Hiroto Saikawa after allegations of serious misconduct that violate Japanese financial trading law.
Saikawa said he could not provide more details because the investigation was continuing. "There's some platform sharing, technology from the new Nissan Leaf EV is going to go across several brands".
That vote will take place on Thursday, Reuters reports.
Nissan, which called in the authorities after an audit inspired by a whistleblower, has refused to divulge the amounts involved in the spending claim though state broadcaster NHK said it included the purchase of homes for Mr Ghosn in four countries.
Shares of the carmaker fell by as much as 15 per cent in Paris, while Nissan's global depository receipts sank by more than 11 per cent. Nissan itself has not spoken of an arrest.
Ghosn, among the most prominent auto industry leaders globally and also the chief executive of Renault, was detained over a suspected breach of Japanese financial law, Japan's national broadcaster said.
He said as recently as last month that he planned to stay on until 2020, although he stepped down from the top job at Nissan past year, amid reports that the companies plan to change the alliance's structure, possibly through a merger.
The Tokyo prosecutor's office had no comment on reports it was questioning Ghosn, who also heads an alliance of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi.
The manager, who declined to be identified as he was not permitted to speak to the media, said he was also anxious Ghosn's departure could hit sales as fans of the charismatic leader abandon the company and corporate customers bound by compliance rules put orders on hold due to the scandal.
"Nissan deeply apologises for causing great concern to our shareholders and stakeholders", the company added. His ouster will likely be felt around the auto industry as he also serves as CEO of Renault and was the architect of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance.
Ghosn has also been a nemesis for French unions and left-wing politicians, who saw him as a symbol of globalized, USA -driven capitalism and its excesses - and notably its executive pay packages.
Nicknamed Le Cost Killer, Brazil-born Ghosn, 64, is known for overhauling Renault and Nissan starting in the nineties.
The Washington Post reported that Ghosn was arrested Monday.
Ghosn stepped down as CEO of Nissan in 2017. He was widely praised in Japanese industry circles for delivering sorely needed cost cuts and introducing greater efficiency at a time when Nissan needed a fresh start.