Sunday, 21 July, 2019

Carlos Ghosn received 'improper payments', Nissan-Mitsubishi probe finds

Mitsubishi Motors CEO Osamu Masuko listens to reporters' questions during a press conference at its headquarters in Tokyo on Friday.—AP Mitsubishi Motors CEO Osamu Masuko listens to reporters questions during a press conference at its headquarters in Tokyo on Friday.—AP
Rhonda Young | 20 January, 2019, 11:28

Nissan and Mitsubishi have announced the results from their joint investigation into the (alleged) misconduct carried out by Carlos Ghosn, who is the former chairman of both companies.

The statement comes a day after French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said that if Ghosn was prevented from doing his job "for a lengthy period of time, I have always said that we have to move on to a new stage".

The 64-year-old was the architect of the Renault-Nissan alliance and brought Mitsubishi on board in 2016.

Ghosn, arrested and detained in Tokyo since November 19, has been indicted in Japan on charges of under-reporting his salary for 8 years through March 2018, and temporarily transferring personal investment losses to Nissan during the global financial crisis.

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Last week, had raised the public Prosecutor's office in Tokyo, two other charges of financial violations.

Unlike Mitsubishi and Nissan, Renault has kept Ghosn as CEO and chairman, but its biggest shareholder, the French government, has been urging it to replace him.

Arrested auto executive Carlos Ghosn improperly received €7.8m in compensation from a joint venture between Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors, the companies said today. Mr Vial, who heads the agency that oversees French state shareholdings, will meet Thursday night with Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa, Nikkei newspaper reported.

Ghosn this week lost his bid for bail, and will have to cool his heels in a Tokyo jail until his trial begins, in March at the earliest, but possibly later. Renault wanted to find "the best solution for the future leadership of the group, in order to safeguard the interests of the company and to strengthen the Renault-Nissan Alliance", said the group.

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Lawyers for Ghosn have since appealed the decision.

On Wednesday, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire stressed that Renault, in which the government owns 15 percent of stake, stressed the need to change the governance of the company, now managed by Ghosn's deputy Thierry Bollore.

Ghosn faces three formal charges.

It was made as remuneration on the basis of an employment agreement that NMBV and Ghosn entered into to appoint him as managing director, the statement said.

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Mitsubishi also said it "will further investigate the cause and consider action to pursue liability against Ghosn in collaboration with Nissan".

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