And so the Carlos Ghosn saga continues, with a new downturn in fortune for the auto titan.
After being arrested for the fourth time earlier this month, a new formal charge has also hailed down on him.
Yesterday, on Monday April 22nd, prosecutors indicted the ousted CEO with additional charges of breach of trust, AP reported.
As has become customary in this bizarre arrest saga, prosecutors have made a habit of filing new charges whenever Ghosn’s detainment period was about to end. This time, it’s no different. Ghosn was supposed to have been released yesterday, but this possibility was immediately dashed by the prosecutors’ new charges – something several media outlets had expected to happen.
The new charges relate to payments made to a distributor in Oman, totalling $15 million, between December 2015 and July 2018, the Nikkei Asian Review (NAR) reported.
“The prosecutors suspect that $5 million of this was transferred to a bank account owned by Good Faith Investments — a Lebanese investment company that Ghosn is said to own indirectly. They allege that part of this was channeled to his wife Carole Ghosn’s company Beauty Yachts, based in the British Virgin Islands, a tax haven.”
“The money sent to Beauty Yachts was allegedly used for purchasing a luxury yacht,” NAR noted.
“Nissan said Monday it has submitted a complaint to the prosecutors as part of the judicial process, saying it believes it was harmed by Ghosn’s misconduct,” CNN said.
“[The payments] were in fact directed by Ghosn for his personal enrichment and were not necessary from a business standpoint,” the Japanese company said in a statement, as reported by CNN. “Such misconduct is completely unacceptable, and Nissan is requesting appropriately strict penalties,” it added.
Is Ghosn being proven correct?
In a video released earlier this month, Ghosn stated that an internal Nissan “conspiracy” had been planned against him, seeking to remove him from his position following advanced talks of a Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi merger. The merger would have put Nissan (15% stake in Renault) at a disadvantage, given that Renault has a larger share (43% of Nissan) in this alliance. According to Ghosn, this is what led some Nissan executives to plot against him, as had been suspected.
News has now surfaced revealing some trouble in the supposedly renewed – ‘Ghosn-less’ – alliance, which was formed last month. As Reuters reported today, “Nissan will reject a management integration proposal from French partner Renault and will call for an equal capital relationship, the Nikkei newspaper said on Monday, citing sources.”
“Nissan’s management feels the Japanese company has not been treated as an equal of Renault under existing capital ties, and a merger would make this inequality permanent,” the Nikkei said, as reported by Reuters.
“[Nissan CEO] Hiroto Saikawa declined to say whether the company had received such a proposal from Renault,” the news agency said.
“Now is not the time to think of such things,” he told a group of reporters outside of his house in Tokyo, Reuters continued. “At the moment we are focused on improving Nissan’s earnings performance. Please give us time to do that.”