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Nissan Shake-Up Claims First Victim: Former US CEO Muñoz

Is this the start of a “bloodbath” that will purge non-Japanese senior managers?

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.11, 2019

Jose Muñoz, Nissan's chief performance officer, parted ways with the automaker today.

José Muñoz, a widely respected Nissan executive and a protégé of ousted Chairman Carlos Ghosn, is leaving the automaker just days after he reportedly took a leave of absence to deal with “special tasks.”

Muñoz, who had gone to Japan this week, was said to have resigned, according to Nissan, but several observers questioned whether his departure marks the beginning of a purge of senior managers linked to Ghosn. The 64-year-old executive was arrested on Nov. 19, and accused of a number of financial misdeeds, prosecutors on Friday indicting him for the second time.

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“José Muñoz has elected to resign from Nissan Motor Company, effective immediately,” Nissan said in a statement e-mailed to TheDetroitBureau.com. (more…)

Ghosn Indicted Again

This time Ghosn faces charges of “breach of trust,” as colleague Greg Kelly and Nissan also indicted.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.11, 2019

Former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, shown here in January 2018, reportedly has lost over 20 pounds while in detention.

Nissan’s former Chairman Carlos Ghosn has been indicted again, this time on charged of breach of trust, a development that could again delay his release on bail.

The once-powerful executive has been held in solitary confinement in the Tokyo Detention Center since his arrest on November 19 and already faces charges related to claims he underreported his income by about $44 million between 2011 and 2015. Prosecutors are reportedly looking at other potential charges that arose from a months-long investigation conducted by Nissan.

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Ghosn, who claimed innocence during his first court hearing earlier this week, wasn’t the only one to face a legal setback on Friday. Prosecutors also laid out charges against the 64-year-old executive’s former colleague Greg Kelly, as well as Nissan itself.

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Ghosn Pleads Not Guilty in First Court Appearance

“I have been wrongly accused,” says former Nissan chief looking gaunt but defiant.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.08, 2019

Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn shown during an appearance at the Paris Motor Show in October.

Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn made his first public appearance since being unexpectedly arrested on financial corruption allegations Tuesday, telling a Tokyo court that he has been “wrongly accused.”

Ghosn has been held in solitary confinement in the Tokyo Detention Center since shortly after his corporate jet arrived at Haneda Airport on November 19th in a case that, while centered around claims of financial wrongdoing has also raised concerns about whether his arrest was influenced by Nissan’s desire to shake off the control of its alliance partner Renault. The French affiliate rescued the Japanese automaker from bankruptcy 20 years ago but has since dominated their partnership.

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“I have been wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated accusations,” the 64-year-old Ghosn said while wearing handcuffs tied to a rope around his waist. “I believe strongly that in all of my efforts on behalf of the company, I have acted honorably, legally and with the knowledge and approval of the appropriate executives inside the company.”

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Ousted Nissan Boss Ghosn Ready to Tell His Story in Court

“I think everyone will be rather surprised,” son says.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.07, 2019

Carlos Ghosn, former CEO of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, will get his day in court tomorrow.

Seven weeks after his unexpected arrest, former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn will finally get a chance, albeit a brief one, to lay out his side of the story when he gets to address a court in Tokyo on Tuesday.

Having so far refused to sign a confession demanded by Japanese prosecutors, Ghosn is expected to assert his innocence and deny allegations of various financial wrongdoings during a 10-minute session. It will be the first time since the 64-year-old executive was arrested after landing at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on Nov. 19, that he has been seen in public. He has since been held in solitary confinement in the Tokyo Detention Center.

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“For the first time, he can talk about his version of the allegations against him,” 24-year-old son Anthony Ghosn said in the interview with the French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche on Sunday. “I think everyone will be rather surprised hearing his version of the story. Until now, we’ve only heard the accusers.” (more…)

Japanese Court Extends Ghosn’s Jail Time into New Year

Former Nissan Chief's custody extended until Jan. 11.

by Michael Strong on Dec.31, 2018

Carlos Ghosn has been ousted at Nissan and Mitsubishi, but Renault has only replaced him temporarily.

Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn is going to ring in 2019 in the same way he ended 2018: behind bars, after the Tokyo District Court extended his detention 10 days until Jan. 11.

The 64-year-old Ghosn who, according to prosecutors, committed a number of financial crimes. These initially included under-reporting about $36 million in revenue through 2015, using company funds to acquire homes in Lebanon and Brazil. He’s been in custody since Nov. 19.

Global News!

Ghosn’s had additional charges filed against him since then with prosecutors alleging he shifted personal trades to Nissan to cover losses of 1.85 billion yen, or $16.6 million. They have also indicated they may bring charges for concealing income since 2015. (more…)

Nissan Exec Kelly Released; Ghosn Still in Tokyo Detention

Late-night release comes five weeks after arrest.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.26, 2018

Greg Kelly's wife told Japanese TV that she believes her husband is a victim of a Nissan power grab.

Greg Kelly, an ousted Nissan Motor Co. executive caught up in a financial corruption scandal, has been released on bail after being held for more than a month in the Tokyo Detention Center.

Kelly was arrested Nov. 19, immediately after arriving in Japan on a corporate jet. He accompanied Carlos Ghosn, then Nissan’s chairman, as well as the head of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. Ghosn, who is at the center of the scandal, will remain in detention until at least Jan. 1.

Global News!

Prosecutors had also attempted to keep Kelly in custody, arguing he is a flight risk. The court ultimately ruled that he could be released on bail of 70 million yen, or $636,000. The American executive must also abide by restrictions on his movement. (more…)

Hit With New Charges, Ghosn to Remain in Tokyo Jail

Additional charges could follow as prosecutors push to retain exec in custody.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.21, 2018

Nissan's one-time CEO Carlos Ghosn could face 20 years or more in prison with the new charges.

Barely a day after a Japanese court took steps that could have led to the release of Carlos Ghosn from a detention center in Tokyo, prosecutors have taken steps that will ensure the former Nissan chairman will be spending Christmas behind bars.

The 64-year-old executive, along with former Nissan colleague Greg Kelly, were arrested on November 19 and accused of a series of financial misdeeds, formal charges being announced last week. Now, however, Ghosn has been rearrested, prosecutors accusing him of breach of trust, a move that means they can hold him in the Tokyo Detention Centre for at least another 10 days. And further charges could follow, according to reports from Japan.

Breaking News!

Prosecutors said Friday that Ghosn alleged transferred losses from a private investment to Nissan, a move that reportedly saved him more than $16 million. The accusations also cover what prosecutors say was the transfer of another $14.7 million that benefited Ghosn and a Saudi Arabian citizen who helped create a fake contract.

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Former Nissan Chairman Ghosn Could Soon Leave Tokyo Jail

Japanese court decision could mean bail before corruption trial.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.20, 2018

Carlos Ghosn could be released from a Tokyo jail before the end of the year with a new court ruling.

Carlos Ghosn, the jailed former chairman of Nissan, could see the light of day for the first time in more than a month following a Tokyo court decision not to extend his detention on financial corruption charges.

The 64-year-old executive, who had been serving as head of both Nissan and French alliance partner Renault prior to his arrest on Nov. 19, has been in solitary confinement in the Tokyo Detention Center. Prosecutors initially held Ghosn for 10 days under Japanese law, extending that prior to bringing charges on Dec. 10. They were rejected when asking the court to allow them to continue holding the executive and Nissan board member Greg Kelly, Ghosn’s alleged accomplice.

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It’s not clear when Ghosn and Kelly might be released, nor whether prosecutors will appeal, the decision. Even if given bail they would not be allowed to leave Japan and their alleged financial misconduct could eventually result in up to 10 years in prison if convicted. (more…)

Ghosn Scandal Threatens to Fracture Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance

Japanese want Renault to examine evidence against jailed executive.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.18, 2018

Carlos Ghosn has been ousted at Nissan and Mitsubishi, but Renault has only replaced him temporarily pending the outcome of his legal proceedings.

Tensions are mounting between the French and Japanese sides of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, according to various insiders and news reports, in the wake of the arrest of Carlos Ghosn, the man who put the alliance together two decades ago.

While the Brazilian-born executive has been ousted from top management roles by both Nissan and Mitsubishi, Renault has refused to follow suit while Ghosn awaits trial on allegations of financial corruption. He was charged by Japanese prosecutors earlier this month with concealing income and misusing corporate funds, but some sources believe the case really centers around growing concerns by Nissan about its relationship with Renault.

Global News!

The second-largest of the Japanese automakers is pressing its French partner to take a closer look at the evidence it claims to have gathered as part of an investigation triggered earlier this year by a whistleblower. The Reuters news service is reporting that Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa hopes to meet with his Renault counterpart, Thierry Bollore, in Amsterdam next week. (more…)

Carlos Ghosn Formally Indicted – Could Face 10-Year Sentence

Former Nissan chairman accused of concealing income.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.10, 2018

Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn was still running the show when he appeared at a news conference at the Paris Motor Show in October.

Things went from bad to worse for the long-time head of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance on Monday, prosecutors in Tokyo formally charging Carlos Ghosn with financial misconduct in a scandal that has rocked the global automotive industry.

Ghosn, along with Nissan board member Greg Kelly, were arrested on November 19th after their corporate jet touched down in the Japanese capital and immediately taken to the Tokyo Detention Centre where they have been held in solitary ever since. Ghosn, in particular, has not been accused of hiding about half of his $88 million income during a five year period beginning in 2010. He may face additional charges related to more recent years, according to Japanese media reports.

Breaking News!

If found guilty, the executive who was given credit for saving a nearly bankrupt Nissan in 1999 could face up to 10 years in prison, a 10 million yen, or $89,000, fine, or both. Nissan, however, could also face potential penalties as high as 700 million yen, or $6.2 million, for failing to catch the alleged scheme.

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