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Top Nissan exec resigns amid Ghosn probe

One of Nissan’s top executives has resigned, further rattling the Japanese automaker’s management team as it broadens an investigation into ousted chairman Carlos Ghosn’s alleged financial misconduct.

Jose Munoz, widely considered as a close ally to Ghosn and a possible successor, had been a “person of interest” in Nissan’s widening internal investigation.

The 53-year-old was Nissan’s chief performance officer and head of its China operations.

In a statement, Nissan said that Munoz had “elected to resign” from the company, effective immediately. It declined to offer details.

“Unfortunately, Nissan is currently involved in matters that have and will continue to divert its focus,” Munoz said in a LinkedIn post.

“As I have repeatedly and recently made clear to the company, I look forward to continuing to assist Nissan in its investigations.”

The automaker is looking into decisions made in the United States by Munoz, who led Nissan’s North American operations from 2016 to 2018.

He becomes the latest executive casualty since Nissan in November removed Ghosn as chairman and fired representative director Greg Kelly.

Ghosn, once the most celebrated executives in the auto industry, remains in custody in a Tokyo detention centre since his initial arrest in late November.

Ghosn has been indicted on two counts of under-reporting his income, and aggravated breach of trust for temporarily shifting personal investment losses worth 1.85 billion yen ($A24 million) to Nissan.

The scandal has sent shockwaves through the automotive industry and has escalated tensions between Nissan and Renault, where Ghosn remains CEO and chairman.

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