Renault says "actively working" to appoint successor to embattled CEO Ghosn

Andrew Cummings
January 20, 2019

The transaction was carried out in accordance with Ghosn's instructions to Nissan executives and under an employment agreement compiled by an unauthorized person at the venture, Mitsubishi Motors said. The probe did not find any other misconduct involving Ghosn at Mitsubishi Motors and its affiliate companies, it said.

The 64-year-old was the architect of the Renault-Nissan alliance and brought Mitsubishi on board in 2016. Ghosn was arrested back in November 2018 on suspected financial law breach for under-reporting of his corporate salary.

The appeal - and its rejection - came as the French government called for him to be replaced at the head of Renault, the only one of the three companies he used to head that has retained him.

Nissan said in a statement that it viewed Ghosn's payments as "the result of misconduct, and will consider measures to recover from Ghosn the full sum".

The auto manufacturers said Ghosn was paid by a Netherlands-based joint venture without the knowledge of Nissan chief executive Hiroto Saikawa or Mitsubishi boss Osamu Masuko.

In November, Japanese vehicle maker Nissan, a Renault alliance partner, announced that Ghosn was arrested in Tokyo after an internal inquiry revealed his involvement in financial wrongdoings.

Kei Umebayashi, a lawyer who led the probe at Mitsubishi Motors, told reporters that testimonies during interviews with people concerned found that Ghosn created the venture for the objective of receiving remuneration illegally.

The French automaker holds around 43 per cent of Nissan, the biggest partner in the alliance by sales and which in turn holds a non-voting 15 per cent stake in Renault.

According to Mitsubishi's legal team, over April-November 2018, Ghosn received around 5.8 million euros ($6.61 million) in annual pay for his role as managing director, a 1.4 million euro signing fee and an undisclosed incentive from the JV.

Also Friday, lawyers for Ghosn requested for a second time that a Tokyo court grant bail to the 64-year-old, whose lengthened detainment has triggered criticism particularly from overseas.

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.

Ghosn has been charged over allegations he failed to disclose close to $80 million in additional compensation for 2010-18 that he had arranged to be paid later. His lawyer, Motonari Otsuru, could not immediately be reached by telephone on Friday.

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