Court rejects Ghosn's request to attend Nissan board meeting

Daniel Fowler
March 12, 2019

Prosecutors submitted a document to the Tokyo District Court from Nissan stating its opposition to Ghosn attending Tuesday's board meeting, Ghosn's lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka, told reporters.

It added that the new board will "drive the operational co-operation between Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi Motors and look for new ways to generate value for its respective shareholders and employees" and promised to accelerate operational activities "through key focus on deliveries of strategic common projects" that will reported to the board for "quick decision making". The court rejected his request, citing the risk of evidence being destroyed if Ghosn communicated with Nissan executives, according to some reports in the Japanese media.

The two firms have since been at pains to present a united front and new Renault boss Jean-Dominique Senard will appear with Saikawa at a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday after the Nissan board meeting.

Senard also announced he would "not be seeking" to replace Ghosn as head of Nissan but would be a "clear candidate" to be vice-president of the Japanese auto giant.

The Nissan board ousted Ghosn from the position of chairman in November after his arrest on Nov. 19, but he remains a board director.

"It is extremely disappointing that a long-trusted co-worker of my father's would slander him by claiming falsely that my father does not love and respect Japan", the children - Caroline, Nadine, Maya and Anthony Ghosn - said in a statement signed by all four.

Ghosn still is one of eight members of Nissan's board.

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Renault and Nissan said they are not considering a review of the power balance in the cross-shareholding partnership at this point.

A decision at a shareholders' meeting is needed to remove Ghosn from the board.

In a complicated management structure, Renault - itself 15-percent held by the French state - owns a 43-percent stake in Nissan.

Ghosn faces three charges of financial misconduct.

The other charge relates to an alleged attempt to pass off personal investment losses onto Nissan's books and then paying from company funds a Saudi contact who had previously stumped up collateral for him.

The carmaker had agreed before the wedding to sponsor 2.3 million euros of renovations at the historic Versailles palace in return for a credit granting it services from the chateau worth 25% of that amount, or 575,000 euros, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Ghosn's lawyer in France, Jean-Yves Le Borgne, told AFP that the executive "stands ready" to repay the money, saying his client was "not aware he owed it because he had not been billed".

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