Mitsubishi Motors falls under scrutiny in AustraliaJune 2015
Fraud allegations have rocked the management of the Australian subsidiary of Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors. However, the unexpected death of its sales director, both a veteran employee and one of the company’s most senior executives abruptly curtailed investigations.
The allegations – of systematic fraud, kickbacks, and irregular accounting also involved a Sydney dealership owned by the publicly listed Automotive Holdings Group (AHG), the country’s largest automotive retailer and logistics group.
The alarm was initially raised by a whistle-blower, sparking an internal audit at both companies.
The scam allegedly involved fraudulently bolstering vehicle sales to collect bonus payments. This netted a six-figure sum for those involved.
Mitsubishi is understood to have introduced a new incentive program late last year, issuing sales staff with credit cards into which cash bonuses were deposited when they hit monthly sales targets. Lax oversight of the procedures involved apparently provided an opportunity for fraud.
Press reports say that other Mitsubishi employees and AHG dealerships were also implicated.
Shortly after being questioned over the irregularities, the sales director unexpectedly died.
The company then issued a statement saying: “The matter was being investigated internally. A member of staff has passed away and the circumstances of this death are being investigated by the police,” the spokeswoman said. “The investigation has concluded and Mitsubishi Motors Australia is satisfied this was an internal issue and no further action will be taken.”
With the death, both companies have drawn a line under the incident, neither confirming nor denying the original allegations.
Mitsubishi Motors Australia stopped manufacturing cars in Australia in 2009. The company maintains a sales and marketing presence and has recently undergone an extensive restructuring.
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