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Ghosn arrested for claimed fiscal misconduct

In trouble: Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance chairman Carlos Ghosn is alleged to have misreported his earnings to the Tokyo Stock Exchange, as well as misusing Nissan’s assets and investments.

Internal Nissan inquiry reveals alleged wrongdoing from Carlos Ghosn, Greg Kelly

20 Nov 2018

THE chairman and chief executive of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, Carlos Ghosn, and Nissan representative director Greg Kelly, have been arrested for suspected financial misconduct by the Japanese Public Prosecutors Office after an internal investigation.
 
Addressing media at Nissan’s global headquarters in Japan overnight, Nissan president and CEO Hiroto Saikawa revealed that Mr Ghosn had been taken into custody for three alleged misdemeanours revealed in a whistleblower report.
 
“He extremely mispresented the compensation amounts in the Tokyo Stock Exchange securities report that was less than the actual amount,” he said.
 
“Misrepresenting the purpose of spending the companies investments (and he) used the companies’ assets for personal use.”
 
Although precise details and the scale of the transgressions are yet to be revealed, some overseas reports indicate Mr Ghosn under-reported his income in Japan by ¥5 billion ($A61 million).
 
However, Mr Saikawa described Mr Kelly as the “mastermind of this event” who worked closely with Mr Ghosn over a number of years, and has been with the Nissan for 30 years.
 
Mr Saikawa apologised to stakeholders, distributors and dealers around the world in the conference, while also describing the alleged crimes as something that “cannot be tolerated by the company” and has given Nissan “enough reason for dismissal”.
 
While Mr Ghosn is yet to be relieved of his role, Mr Saikawa revealed a proposal for his removal has been put forward to Nissan’s board of directors with a decision – made with alliance partners Renault and Mitsubishi executives – expected by week’s end.
 
“The partnership among the three entities will not be affected by this event, rather we will closely work together with the alliance partners, contain any possible confusion and minimise any impact on alliance efforts,” he said.
 
“It’s premature, but in the future we will make sure we don’t rely on specific individuals, rather we will look for a more sustainable structure, and in this sense, we need to talk to the partners, and I think this will give us a good opportunity to revise the way we work.”
 
Mr Saikawa downplayed Mr Ghosn’s role in Nissan’s financial turnaround after nearing bankruptcy in 1999, instead highlighting it as a group effort, and adding that the focus now was to “minimalise the impact on the day-to-day operations with the business partners”.
 
In a statement, Nissan said it “has been providing information to the Japanese Public Prosecutors Office and has been fully cooperating with their investigation” and “will continue to do so”.
 
Meanwhile, Renault said its board of directors will meet shortly but “have acknowledged the contents of Nissan’s press release of today”.

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