Renault Strips Ghosn Loyalist of Executive Role

15 March, 2019, 16:11 | Author: Regina Silva
  • The leaders of Renault Nissan and Mitsubishi celebrate the reconfiguration of the Alliance's board of directors

Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. announced Tuesday that they will be reorganizing their partnership and make a new internal body to oversee their alliance following the arrest of ex-chairman Carlos Ghosn for financial misconduct.

Ghosn's November arrest and dismissal as Nissan chairman, following an internal investigation, inflamed tensions with 43.4 per cent-owner Renault that have begun to ease since his forced resignation from the French vehicle maker in January.

Ghosn, who has not spoken to media since his release, put in a request with a Tokyo court on Monday to attend Nissan's board meeting, but he was refused permission.

This is a "new start" for the alliance, insisted the Frenchman.

"Our future lies in the efficiency of this alliance", he said after a board meeting at Nissan's headquarters in Yokohama.

Released on $9 million bail last week after spending more than 100 days in a Tokyo detention centre, Ghosn faces charges of under-reporting his salary at Nissan by about $82 million over almost a decade.

It has seemingly relinquished this right, for now at least, in order to improve its relationship with Nissan.

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As boss of Renault, he took what many observers at the time thought was a gamble by saving Nissan from the brink of bankruptcy and tying it to the French firm. He has been let out on bail under conditions that he should remain in Japan and should not destroy evidence. Renault owns about 40 percent of Nissan, while Nissan holds a stake of 15 percent on Renault.

It is unclear whether he will try to attend next month's shareholders meeting.

Although removed from his post at Nissan following his arrest on November 19 past year, Ghosn still holds his seat on the automaker's board as a director and he believes it is his duty to attend the board meeting.

He believes that the accusations against him, which he has frequently described as "meritless and unsubstantiated", should not prevent him from giving his input into a company he saved from the brink. It established in its own investigation that a 2016 Renault sponsorship deal with the Chateau de Versailles outside Paris included a 50,000 euro ($56,000) personal benefit to Ghosn, and said it would alert prosecutors.

The event had already attracted public attention for its opulence and Marie Antoinette-themed costumes.

The waived bill could amount to the misuse of company resources, as well as tax evasion, if the benefit-in-kind was not declared to French authorities.

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