Coverage: Ghosn was planning to replace Nissan CEO at time of arrest
Nissan Motor Co.’s Carlos Ghosn was planning to replace Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa before the plan was derailed by Ghosn’s arrest in Tokyo last month.
Sean McLain of The Wall Street Journal had the news:
Word of the Ghosn plan adds a new twist to the drama inside Nissan this year. Mr. Saikawa has said the company was investigating possible misuse of corporate assets and other alleged wrongdoing by Mr. Ghosn for months this year and was supplying information to Tokyo prosecutors.
While that internal investigation was going on, Mr. Ghosn was growing increasingly dissatisfied with Mr. Saikawa’s handling of business problems at Nissan including a slowdown in U.S. sales and repeated quality issues in Japan, say people familiar with the matter.
Mr. Ghosn had expressed a desire for months to shake up the senior management ranks at Nissan and made known to some executives his plan to replace Mr. Saikawa, said people familiar with the plan.
One of the people said Mr. Ghosn told associates he wanted to put Mr. Saikawa’s ouster to a vote at a Nissan board meeting set for late November.
Simon Goodley of The Guardian reports that the company wants to block Ghosn from using a company apartment:
Brazil-born Ghosn has been detained in Tokyo since his arrest on suspicion of conspiring with the former Nissan director Greg Kelly of underreporting his income by about 5bn yen (£35m).
A Brazilian court has granted Ghosn access to the Nissan-owned property in the Copacabana neighbourhood, but the company said in a statement on Sunday that it was now petitioning a higher court to reverse the decision.
Ghosn has denied allegations that he used company funds to pay for his luxury lifestyle, claiming he had no intention of making false financial statements. Kelly also denies the allegations, saying Ghosn’s salaries were paid appropriately.
Ghosn, who was sacked as Nissan chairman last month, is at the centre of a corruption investigation that has stunned the business world and put in doubt one of the most successful car alliances of the last 20 years.
Mitsuru Obe, Kaoru Yamada and Togo Shiraishi of Nikkei say Ghosn faces Japan’s 99 percent conviction rate if charged:
More than 99% of criminal cases in Japan that produce an indictment result in a conviction.
The high-profile arrest of the celebrated automotive executive has drawn international attention, along with scrutiny of how Japan treats suspects before and after they are charged.
The Brazilian-born Frenchman has hired for his defense a former chief of the special investigations section of the Tokyo prosecutors office, the same unit that is investigating him on allegations of financial crimes.
Much of the international scrutiny focuses on how Ghosn, who has been held since his arrest Nov. 19, is being questioned. Detainees in Japan cannot have an attorney present during interrogations, unlike in the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Italy or South Korea.
“The suspect is by himself or herself. Attorneys are not allowed to attend the interrogation or provide any information,” said Lawrence Repeta, a former law professor at Meiji University in Tokyo and a member of the Washington State Bar Association in the U.S. “That’s from the Western standpoint a clear violation of due process. It’s unfair.”