AMSTERDAM — Carlos Ghosn has launched a court case in the Netherlands against Japanese carmakers Nissan Motor and Mitsubishi Motors, who ousted him as chairman of their alliance last year on charges of embezzlement, Dutch newspaper NRC reported on Saturday. Ghosn is seeking 15 million euros ($16.8 million) in damages from the carmakers, as grave mistakes were made when he was sacked, NRC reported, citing his lawyer. "In the Netherlands, if you want to fire an executive you have to first tell him what he's being accused of, and you have to provide him with the evidence for the accusations. Neither of those things has happened," lawyer Laurens de Graaf told NRC. Ghosn fell from grace late last year when he was arrested in Japan and sacked by Nissan on charges of financial misconduct, which he denies. He has also been fired as the CEO and chairman of French carmaker Renault. Ghosn was freed in April from jail in Japan on a $4.5 million bail. Among other charges of fraud and misconduct, Nissan and Mitsubishi have said Ghosn improperly received $9 million in compensation from their joint venture. Suspect expenses Ghosn made when he chaired Renault and Nissan amounted to about 11 million euros, Renault's board said in June. Ghosn holds French, Lebanese and Brazilian citizenship, but opted for the fiscally more friendly Netherlands as his tax domicile in 2012. The holding company for the Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance is also incorporated in the Netherlands. The district court in Amsterdam is reviewing the case but has not set a trial date yet, NRC said.
TOKYO — Former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn on Friday abruptly canceled plans for what would have been his first press conference since his arrest in November, after journalists had been notified about a briefing just two hours earlier. Ghosn's lawyers called to cancel the event that was to be held at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan (FCCJ), but did not immediately give a reason for the abrupt change, an official at the FCCJ told Reuters.
Automotive News cited a source as saying his family and media team staged a "last-minute intervention" to get him to call off plans to make his case at the press conference, fearing he would be faced with questions he couldn't answer without tipping his legal team's strategy, or that Japanese prosecutors would take a dim view of him publicly criticizing their actions and attempt to revoke his bail. A spokesman for the Ghosn family in Tokyo did not answer his mobile phone and did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. If the conference had not been canceled, Ghosn would have spoken as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hosts national leaders at the G20 leaders gathering in Osaka, including U.S. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron, who Ghosn's wife Carole have called on to raise the issue of her husband's treatment by Japan's courts. In May a Japanese court dismissed an appeal by Ghosn to ease a bail restriction that bans him from contacting his wife and rejected a subsequent request to allow him a one-off monitored meeting with Carole. His lawyers have argued that that condition violates Japan's constitution and international law on family separations. Ghosn's movements are also monitored and he is only allowed internet access from a computer at his lawyer's office that records the activity for the court. Once among the world's most feted auto executives, Ghosn is awaiting trial in Japan over charges including enriching himself at a cost of $5 million to Nissan, in a scandal which has rocked the industry and exposed tensions in the automaking partnership between Nissan and Renault SA. Since his initial arrest in November last year, Ghosn has been charged four times for crimes which also include underreporting his Nissan salary and temporarily transferring personal financial losses to his employer's books during his time at the helm of Japan's No. 2 automaker. Ghosn has denied any wrongdoing saying he is the victim of a boardroom coup, accusing "backstabbing" former colleagues of conspiring to oust him from Nissan in order to derail a closer alliance between the Japanese automaker and Renault, its top shareholder.
TOKYO — Japanese automaker Nissan, reeling from the arrest of former chairman Carlos Ghosn, reported Tuesday that annual profit nosedived to less than half of what it earned the previous year, and forecast even dimmer results going forward. Nissan Motor Co.'s profit for the fiscal year ended March totaled 319.1 billion yen ($2.9 billion), down from 746.9 billion yen the previous fiscal year. Yokohama-based Nissan said profit for the fiscal year through March 2020 will drop to 170 billion yen ($1.5 billion), as its earnings are slammed by restructuring and product development expenses combined with currency-related losses and rising material costs. "This is a very critical situation," Nissan's chief executive, Hiroto Saikawa, told reporters at its headquarters in Yokohama. He said efforts were underway to reshape Nissan's business, especially in North America, where profits have dropped because of incentives and overproduction. Nissan's sales for the fiscal year that ended in March totaled 11.6 trillion yen ($105 billion), down 3% from the previous fiscal year. Vehicle sales for the fiscal year slipped 4% to 5.5 million vehicles. Saikawa promised that Nissan's business will be turned around over the next two or three years. He blamed an overly aggressive sales growth strategy spearheaded by Ghosn, though Saikawa himself has faced criticism over his leadership since he became CEO. Saikawa apologized to customers and shareholders for the shoddy results, giving a short bow rather than the usual deep bow held for nearly a minute by Japanese executives apologizing for corporate wrongdoing. Ghosn, who led Nissan and its alliance with Renault SA of France for two decades, was arrested in November on financial misconduct charges. He has been accused of under-reporting retirement compensation, having Nissan shoulder investment losses and diverting Nissan money for personal gain. He says he is innocent. He says the compensation was never paid or agreed upon, the losses were never suffered and the payments were for legitimate services. The scandal over Ghosn's arrest and dismissal added to Nissan's problems. It logged 9.2 billion ($83 million) in costs for the fiscal year through March from alleged underreporting of Ghosn's compensation. Some analysts say the brand has been tarnished. It is unclear when Ghosn's trial will start, as preparations in Japan take months. Prosecutors wanted Ghosn kept incarcerated during the preparation, but he was released on bail in March, rearrested and then released again in April. The latest release forbids Ghosn, a Brazilian-born Frenchman of Lebanese ancestry, from contact with his wife, a restriction that prosecutors have defended as necessary to prevent evidence tampering. Saikawa brushed off speculation that Renault may be pushing for a merger, saying that Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard, who recently joined Nissan's board, agrees that fixing Nissan comes first. Renault owns 43% of Nissan. Nissan, which makes the Leaf electric car, March subcompact and Infiniti luxury models, owns 15% of Renault. Saikawa also brushed off a reporter's question about his resignation. He said he planned to hand over the reign to another leader "when the timing is right." For now, he said, he needs to focus on a turnaround.
A Tokyo court has granted bail for the second time to former Nissan Motor chairman Carlos Ghosn. The 65-year-old was detained for a second time earlier this month. Prosecutors then charged him with aggravated breach of trust.
The court set Ghosn's bail at about 4 and a half million dollars. That's on top of the 9 million dollars he paid the last time he was released on bail.
TOKYO — Japanese prosecutors indicted Carlos Ghosn on Monday on another charge of aggravated breach of trust, a Tokyo court said, the fourth charge against the former Nissan Motor Co Ltd chairman, which his lawyers met immediately with a bail request. The charge came on the day Ghosn's latest detention period was set to expire. Ghosn had been out on bail when authorities arrested him for a fourth time on April 4 on suspicion he enriched himself at a cost of $5 million to the automaker. "We are confident that we have the evidence to successfully prosecute all four cases," an official from the prosecutor's office said at a briefing after the indictment was announced. Ghosn has denied all four of the charges, which include understating his income, and said he is the victim of a boardroom coup. He has accused former colleagues of "backstabbing," describing them as selfish rivals bent on derailing a closer alliance between Nissan and its top shareholder, France's Renault SA. "Carlos Ghosn is innocent of the latest charges brought against him by the Tokyo prosecutors, aided and abetted by certain Nissan conspirators," a Ghosn representative said in a statement. The case has exposed tensions in the Nissan-Renault alliance forged by Ghosn some two decades ago when the French automaker invested in Nissan, then on the brink of bankruptcy — a deal that gave Renault control over its larger partner. Nissan is due to reject a management integration proposal from Renault and will instead call for an equal capital relationship, the Nikkei newspaper said on Monday, citing sources. Ghosn's arrest has also focused a harsh light on Japan's judicial system, which critics refer to as "hostage justice" as defendants who deny their charges are often not granted bail. Under Japanese law, prosecutors are able to hold suspects for up to 22 days without charge and interrogate them without their lawyers present. In accordance with these terms, prosecutors had to indict or release Ghosn by Monday. According to the latest indictment, Ghosn caused a total of $5 million in losses to Nissan from July 2017 through July 2018. During that period, prosecutors allege two separate payments of $5 million were made from the account of a Nissan subsidiary into the account of an overseas dealership. A total of $5 million was subsequently transferred from the dealership's account to another account in which Ghosn had an interest. Nissan said it had filed a criminal complaint against the former chairman in relation to the matter, saying it had determined that some of its overseas payments had been ordered by Ghosn for his personal enrichment. The payments were "not necessary from a business standpoint," Nissan said in a statement. "Such misconduct is completely unacceptable, and Nissan is requesting appropriately strict penalties." A court would likely rule on the bail request on Tuesday, Ghosn's lead lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka, told reporters. Before Ghosn's latest arrest, he had been out on $9 million bail for 30 days. He is now being held in the same Tokyo detention center where he was detained for 108 days following his initial arrest on the tarmac at a Tokyo airport in November. Kyodo news agency previously reported, without citing sources, that Nissan funds had been shifted through a car dealer in Oman to the account of a company Ghosn effectively owned. Sources have previously told Reuters that Renault had alerted French prosecutors after uncovering payments it deemed suspect to a partner in Oman. Evidence sent to French prosecutors showed much of the cash was channeled to a Lebanese company controlled by associates of Ghosn, who holds Lebanese citizenship, the sources told Reuters. Ghosn's French lawyer denied the allegations.
Carlos Ghosn's lawyers released a video of the former Nissan Chairman speaking to the public for the first time. It was filmed before his latest arrest. As he has in the past, he repeatedly proclaimed his innocence and didn't get into details of the charges.
In the roughly eight-minute video, Ghosn calls all the accusations against him biased, taken out of context and twisted to paint him as a greedy dictator.
TOKYO — Nissan's shareholders approved on Monday the ouster from the Japanese automaker's board of its former chairman, Carlos Ghosn, who is facing allegations of financial misconduct. The approval, which was expected, was indicated by applause from the more than 4,000 people gathered at a Tokyo hotel for a three-hour extraordinary shareholders' meeting. Other votes had been submitted in advance. Ahead of the vote, Nissan's top executive apologized to shareholders for the scandal at the Japanese automaker and asked them to approve Ghosn's dismissal. Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa and other Nissan executives bowed deeply in apology to shareholders attending the extraordinary meeting at a Tokyo hotel. Shareholders also approved the appointment of French alliance partner Renault SA's Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard to replace Ghosn. Renault owns 43 percent of Nissan. Senard, introduced to shareholders at the meeting's end, thanked them and promised to do his best to keep the automaker's performance on track. "I will dedicate my energy to enhance the future of Nissan," said Senard. The shareholders also gave a green light to removing from the board a former executive direct, Greg Kelly, who has been charged with collaborating with Ghosn in the alleged misconduct. Angry shareholders demanded an explanation for how wrongdoing on an allegedly massive scale had gone unchecked for years. The meeting was closed except to stockholders but livestreamed. One shareholder said Nissan's entire management should resign immediately. Saikawa said he felt his responsibility lay in fixing the shoddy corporate governance at Nissan first, and continuing to lead its operations. Another shareholder asked if Nissan was prepared for a damage lawsuit from shareholders since its stock price has plunged. "I deeply, deeply apologize for all the worries and troubles we have caused," Saikawa said. "This is an unprecedented and unbelievable misconduct by a top executive." He outlined the findings of an internal investigation, such as payments of a consultation fee to Ghosn's sister for 13 years. The investigation has also found too much power had been focused in one person, he said. Ken Miyamoto, 65, a Nissan shareholder, said he was disappointed. "It is really such a pity as he was a brilliant manager," Miyamoto said of Ghosn before heading into the meeting. "I guess he became complacent as people kept praising him too much." Ghosn says he is innocent of all allegations and has suggested the accusations were made by some people at Nissan hoping to remove him from power. He has been charged with under-reporting his compensation in financial documents, and with breach of trust in having Nissan shoulder investment losses and making suspect payments to a Saudi businessman. Ghosn says the compensation was never decided on or paid, no investment losses were suffered by Nissan, and the payments were for legitimate services. Ghosn was arrested in November, released on bail in early March and then re-arrested for a fourth time last week. The latest arrest was in connection with fresh allegations that $5 million sent by a Nissan Motor Co. subsidiary and meant for an Oman dealership was diverted to a company effectively controlled by Ghosn. His detention on that allegation has been approved through April 14 but could be extended. The date of his trial has not been set. Carole Ghosn, the wife of Carlos Ghosn, appealed to French President Emmanuel Macron for help. "I'm asking that we allow him the presumption of innocence like all French citizens, and France must do something," she told France's RTL radio. She was with her husband in Tokyo when he was arrested last week, an ordeal she described as humiliating. Japanese investigators confiscated her Lebanese passport, but she used her American passport to leave for France on Friday, she said. "I'd never been so proud of him because he remained dignified. He held his head high and he was calm," she said. Ghosn's lawyers in Japan said that Tuesday they will show a videotape of Ghosn's comments. It was taped before he was taken into custody. Yokohama-based Nissan, which makes the Leaf electric car, March subcompact and Infiniti luxury models, was on the brink of bankruptcy when Renault sent Ghosn to turn it around two decades ago. The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Motors alliance now rivals auto giants Volkswagen AG of Germany and Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp. in global sales. Saikawa told shareholders the company will stick by the alliance, fix its governance problems and make the ouster of Ghosn "a turning point." "We had allowed a system in which wrongdoing could be carried out without detection," he said.