Carlos Ghosn To Continue As Renault Chairman Despite Corruption Allegations

Renault names interim CEO stands by Ghosn			Image by Renault

The crisis at Nissan deepened Wednesday as it emerged the Japanese vehicle giant could itself face charges over the alleged financial misconduct that led to the stunning arrest of its chairman Carlos Ghosn.

The French automaker said after an emergency meeting of its board of directors in Paris that it would further consolidate its alliance with Nissan.

According to a new report from the Financial Times, Nissan's board opposed Ghosn's plan to merge Nissan and Renault-a plan that was set to materialize within months, according to the paper's sources.

Renault's board indicated that it was in the dark about the nature of the allegations against Ghosn. Ghosn's position as board chair for Renault will be temporarily occupied by the lead independent director, Phillipe Lagayette.

Public broadcaster NHK also reported that Nissan had paid for luxury homes for Ghosn in Rio de Janeiro, Beirut, Paris and Amsterdam "without any legitimate business reason".

"Japan will not tolerate executive greed".

The board's decision on Thursday will do little to clear the allegations against Ghosn and Kelly that are still being pursued by the Tokyo prosecutor's office.

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The amount of stock-related pay makes up much of the ¥5 billion in remuneration the prosecutors allege Ghosn understated in violation of the Financial Instruments and Exchange Law.

Ghosn has also served as chairman of automakers Renault, Mitsubishi, and Nissan separately, CEO of Renault, and chairman and CEO of an alliance among the three, although his roles at all may be in doubt after this week.

Japanese authorities Wednesday extended Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn's detention by 10 days, as it emerged the auto giant itself could face charges over the alleged financial misconduct that laid low its once-loved leader.

Nissan has accused Ghosn of under-reporting his salary over a period of several years and "numerous significant acts of misconduct". He had harsh words for the detained boss. Nissan said it began an internal investigation after a whistleblower informed the company of potential wrongdoing. There was apparently great tension between Ghosn and Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa.

"The directors are meeting tomorrow and a proposal will be made to the board to remove the directorships of Mr Ghosn and Mr Kelly", the spokesman said. That would reduce the board to seven members, including Mr Saikawa, and take the number of non-Japanese directors from four to two. In a letter to Renault employees, he pledged "full support" for Mr Ghosn and to protect the Nissan partnership.

On Wednesday, Japan's top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said "it is important that Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi maintain a stable relationship". On Tuesday, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire told France Info radio that "we will not demand he be removed" from the company because "we have no proof".

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