Economy

Renault keeps Ghosn as CEO despite arrest in Japan

Renault keeps Ghosn as CEO despite arrest in Japan

The Nissan board is due to meet on Thursday, when it is expected to strip Ghosn and representative director Greg Kelly - also arrested in connection with the allegations - of their roles.

Nissan said Monday that Ghosn's "significant acts of misconduct" such as "personal use of company assets" and Kelly's "deep involvement" were uncovered following a monthslong internal probe, said to have been triggered by a whistleblower report.

Renault's decision not to strip Ghosn of his duties puts it at odds with alliance partner Nissan - which Renault owns a stake in - and follows Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa saying he felt "despair, indignation and resentment" as Ghosn's alleged actions.

"There's no question Carlos Ghosn is being used as a symbol to ensure that corporate leadership in Japan will stay close to its workers".

The Asahi Shimbun daily said Wednesday that Tokyo prosecutors believe Nissan also has a case to answer in the under-reporting of Ghosn's package by about five billion yen ($44.5 million) over four years.

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Ghosn and Kelly's current locations are not now known, but they can be held without charge for up to 23 days under Japanese law.

The charismatic executive led both Nissan and Renault as well as their wider alliance, which unites the iconic French and Japanese companies with the smaller Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

Nissan bounced back marginally on the Tokyo stocks exchange, after plunging following Ghosn's arrest.

Ghosn is suspected of omitting from the company's annual securities reports more than ¥100,000,000 ($886,000) in annual remuneration from a Dutch-based subsidiary, according to the sources.

Renault's board, meanwhile, said it is requesting that Nissan pass along details of its investigation into Ghosn's alleged wrongdoing. He had harsh words for the detained boss.

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Mr Saikawa's influence at Nissan will grow in Mr Ghosn's absence.

But in France, Renault said it was sticking with the fallen manager as chief executive, although it named chief operating officer Thierry Bollore as deputy CEO and handed him the "same powers" as the "temporarily incapacitated" Ghosn. However, the full scope of potential allegations is unclear.

So far the French government, which is Renault's largest shareholder, is reserving judgment on Ghosn.

The statement concluded: "The Board endorsed the support expressed by the Nissan management to the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance, which remains the priority of the Group". France has examined Ghosn's local tax records and found "nothing particular", Le Maire said.

The two companies already hold shares in one another-Renault owns 43% of Nissan and Nissan owns 15% of Renault, so the French firm has the upper hand.

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