Ex-chairman Ghosn expected to be removed from Nissan’s board

Shareholders of Nissan Motor have voted former chairman Carlos Ghosn out as a director, severing his last ties with the automaker.

Shareholders at the emergency meeting on Monday also voted out another director, Greg Kelly, and voted in favour of making Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard as a director, according to announcements made at the meeting.

Japan’s second-largest carmaker proposed Ghosn’s dismissal after removing him as chairman in November following his arrest, while bringing in Renault’s new chairman Jean-Dominique Senard as a new member.

In 1999, Renault sent Ghosn to spearhead a turnaround at Nissan, which nearly went bankrupt, after forging a capital alliance with the Japanese carmaker. 

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Motors alliance sold more than 10 million vehicles in 2018 after Ghosn reinvigorated Nissan.

On Friday, the Tokyo District Court approved the detention of the 65-year-old until April 14 after prosecutors took Ghosn into custody over a new allegation that he was responsible for Nissan sustaining a $5m loss.

This period can be extended for a further 10 days if the court allows, meaning Ghosn is unlikely to be released any time soon.

Thursday’s arrest came nearly a month after he was released on bail from the Tokyo Detention Centre in early March after 108 days in custody.

Ghosn faces three separate charges. The first two relate to the alleged deferring of around $80m in income and concealing this in official documents to shareholders.

The third, more complex, charge is that he attempted to transfer personal losses to Nissan and paid a Saudi contact who provided collateral from company funds.

Al Jazeera’s Fadi Salameh, reporting from Tokyo, said the shareholders meeting was “very important step in the case”.

“Tomorrow, his lawyers will also hold a press conference and show the media a video message by Ghosn that was recorded just before he was arrested on Thursday,” said Salameh.

Just before his rearrest, Ghosn had appeared on Twitter to announce a news conference for April 11 – which will now not happen barring a further surprise.

However, he gave a combative interview to France’s TF1 television channel where he again denounced his downfall as a Nissan “plot” and voiced fears he might not receive a fair trial.

“It’s obvious it’s a plot,” said Ghosn. “Everything needs to be put on the table. Of course, I have names.

“Some of them you have seen in the press, but there are others that haven’t been in the press.” 

Ex-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn says he didn’t hide money

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