Ghosn detained again over serious financial claims

05 April 2019

5 April 2019

Former Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance executive Carlos Ghosn has been rearrested in Japan just weeks after being granted bail following a long period in detention.

The latest developments come following the suspicion of aggravated breach of trust, funnelling millions of euros from Nissan through an intermediary for personal purposes, prosecutors said. These charges are more serious than those on which Ghosn was originally detained.

′My arrest this morning is outrageous and arbitrary,’ Ghosn said in a statement emailed by a US-based spokesman. ′It is part of another attempt by some individuals at Nissan to silence me by misleading the prosecutors. Why arrest me except to try to break me? I will not be broken.’

The Brazilian, who also holds French and Lebanese citizenship, called on the French government for help. ′I am innocent,’ Ghosn said in an interview aired on French TV stations TF1 and LCI. ′I call on the French government to defend me, and to defend my rights as a citizen.’

Tokyo prosecutors said Ghosn had caused Nissan $5 million (€4.5 million) in losses over a two and a half year period to July 2018, in breach of his legal duties to the company and with the goal of personal gain.

Renault and Nissan have uncovered payments made under Ghosn that allegedly went toward corporate jets, a yacht and his son’s start-up, leading Renault to alert authorities about potential wrongdoing, people familiar with the matter have said.

Ghosn recently released a tweet announcing he would hold a news conference on 11 April to give his side of the story over the accusations levelled against him in November last year.

Nissan declined to comment on the arrest, issuing its usual response regarding Ghosn. ′Nissan’s internal investigation has uncovered substantial evidence of blatantly unethical conduct,’ Nicholas Maxfield, a spokesman for the carmaker wrote in an e-mailed statement. ′Further discoveries related to Ghosn’s misconduct continue to emerge.’

French position

Renault has blocked Ghosn’s pension and said an internal probe had identified questionable and concealed practices by its former CEO.

′Certain expenses incurred by the former chairman and chief executive officer are a source of concern, as they involve questionable and concealed practices and violations of the Group’s ethical principles, particularly concerning relationships with third parties, management of conflicts of interest, and protection of corporate assets,’ the company said in a statement.

The latest findings may lead to legal action in France after earlier transactions were brought to the attention of authorities, the company said.

The French manufacturer will also slim down its board, in a move that will see Ghosn, along with Cherie Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, leaving.

Annette Winkler, the former head of Daimler’s Smart brand will be proposed as a new director at the company’s annual meeting on 12 June, Renault said.