Ghosn Weirdness Intensifies

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Happy to relegate Carlos Ghosn to the past, Renault has announced its former CEO will soon leave the company’s executive board, along with Cherie Blair, wife of former British prime minister Tony Blair. Annette Winkler, the ex-head of Daimler’s Smart brand, will be proposed as the new director at the company’s annual meeting in June, according to the automaker.

The company also decided that Ghosn is not entitled to an annual retirement salary of about 765,000 euros a year due to an internal probe that identified “questionable and concealed practices and violations of the group’s ethical principles.”

Of course, Ghosn maintains he was the victim of a corporate coup masterminded by Nissan executives. The ousted exec recently claimed he’s “getting ready to tell the truth about what’s happening” over social media.

The defamed industry hero appears to have created the Twitter page earlier this month, which brings up questions about its validity — especially since Ghosn’s $9 million bail is supposed to preclude him from using the internet. Whether or not the page is being run by the man himself, or on his behalf, Twitter saw fit to verify it as authentic and “Ghosn” told the world to expect a press conference on April 11th.

According to Reuters, his lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka, told reporters the tweet did not violate those terms. Hironaka also said there have been no new requests from Tokyo prosecutors after Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper and other media outlets reported authorities were preparing a new case against Ghosn over payments the automaker made to a business partner in Oman — something Renault brought up when discussing his retirement pay.

From Reuters:

Prosecutors are in discussions with the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office and others and plan to make a decision soon on whether to prosecute Ghosn on further charges of aggravated breach of trust, the newspaper said, citing sources involved in the case.

A spokesman for the Tokyo prosecutors office said he was not aware of any new investigation when contacted by Reuters.

Ghosn’s spokesman has previously said payments of $32 million made over nine years were rewards for the Oman firm being a top Nissan dealer. Such dealer incentives were not directed by Ghosn and the funds were not used to pay any personal debt, the spokesman said.

Sources told Reuters earlier this week that Renault had alerted French prosecutors after uncovering suspect payments to a Renault-Nissan business partner in Oman while Ghosn was chief executive of the French automaker.

Ghosn stepped down as Renault’s chairman and CEO in January, but has repeatedly denied accusations of financial misconduct at Nissan, encouraging Renault to undertake its own internal investigation. Renault and Nissan both uncovered payments made under Ghosn that allegedly went toward corporate jets, a yacht, and unrelated family businesses, leading the French carmaker to alert local authorities.

Meanwhile, Ghosn is awaiting trial in Japan over charges that he failed to report $82 million in Nissan pay that was arranged to flow following his retirement. He was also indicted for temporarily transferring personal investment losses to Nissan and steering $14.7 million in company funds to the Middle East.

[Image: Nissan]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Ect Ect on Apr 03, 2019

    So, Ghosn tweets that he's going to hold a news conference to tell his side of the story and, as if by magic, Japanese prosecutors arrest him the very next day on "new" charges, which will keep him in jail past that date. Purely coincidental, of course!

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Apr 03, 2019

    Why it reminds me witch hunt so popular these days in US. I am surprised there are no me-too and Russiangate collusion accusations against Ghosn. I am sure he is Putin's stooge - Renault owns VAZ.

  • Marty The problem isn't range; it's lack of electricity in multi-unit building parking. All you need is level 1 - a standard 120v wall socket - and if you're plugged in 10 hours overnight you get 280 miles per week or more. That's enough for most folks but you can use public charging to supplement when needed. Installing conduit circuits and outlets is simple and cheap; no charge stations needed.
  • 2manyvettes Tadge was at the Corvette Corral at the Rolex 24 hour sports car race at the end of January 2023. During the Q&A after his remarks someone stood up and told him "I will never buy an electric Corvette." His response? "I will never sell you an electric Corvette." Take that Fwiw.
  • Socrates77 They're pinching pennies for the investors like always, greed has turned GM into a joke of an old corporate American greed.
  • Analoggrotto looking at this takes me right back to the year when “CD-ROM” first entered public lexicon
  • Alan My comment just went into the cloud.I do believe its up to the workers and I also see some simplistic comments against unionisation. Most of these are driven by fear and insecurity, an atypical conservative trait.The US for a so called modern and wealthy country has poor industrial relation practices with little protection for the worker, so maybe unionisation will advance the US to a genuine modern nation that looks after its workers well being, standard of living, health and education.Determining pay is measured using skill level, training level and risk associated with the job. So, you can have a low skilled job with high risk and receive a good pay, or have a job with lots of training and the pay is so-so.Another issue is viability of a business. If you have a hot dog stall and want $5 a dog and people only want to pay $4 you will go broke. This is why imported vehicles are important so people can buy more affordable appliances to drive to and from work.Setting up a union is easier than setting up work conditions and pay.
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