By on April 19, 2019

Nissan Motor Co. has pledged a donation of 100,000 euros ($112,000) for the restoration of the fire-kissed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. However, the company’s act of kindness is overshadowed by its rather interesting timing. Nissan’s relationship with partner Renault and the French government has grown strained since the arrest of former Alliance boss Carlos Ghosn — now back in jail after his fourth arrest and rumored to be facing indictment on new charges early next week in Japan.

Then again, the fire at Notre Dame was an extremely high-profile incident, leading to the donation of millions in charitable contributions for its repair. Where it not for the elevated tensions between the company and Renault/France, nobody would question Nissan’s motives in the slightest. 

Officially, the Japanese automaker says the funds simply fall within its wishes “to contribute to the internationally iconic cathedral’s restoration in recognition of and appreciation for Nissan Europe and Renault employees as well as the people of France.” It also acknowledged its 20-year relationship with Renault.

While Ghosn’s arrest has raised red flags atop Japan’s legal system and managed to make Nissan look like it orchestrated an industrial coup, Nissan’s grievances surrounding an potential merger are legitimate. As the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance works to restructuring itself more fairly, Nissan has a non-voting stake that effectively gives Renault control.

We also don’t know whether or not Mr. Ghosn is innocent of the crimes against him. It does seem to appear that he underreported a sizable amount of his earnings and may have even tried to hide funds used for personal projects by moving it around. New details of the ongoing case emerge with each passing month, and Ghosn’s denial of any criminal wrongdoing can appear totally plausible one day, but oddly suspicious the next. His legal trial is expected to begin in September.

[Images: Maziarz/Shutterstock]

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