Prosecutors look into Nissan's responsibility in Ghosn case:The Asahi Shimbun

Prosecutors look into Nissan's responsibility in Ghosn case:The Asahi Shimbun

Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko said Tuesday that he did not think "there is anyone else on Earth like Ghosn who could run Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi".

Ghosn is being held in a detention center in northern Tokyo in conditions far removed from his abundant lifestyle.

Nissan officials said they believe Ghosn used the under-reported 5 billion yen for private purposes by dipping into Nissan's investment funds and general expenses.

Monday's stunning arrest of the millionaire auto tycoon, who is credited with turning around the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi Motors alliance, sent shockwaves through the global vehicle sector, corporate Japan and beyond.

Securing a unanimous decision to oust Carlos Ghosn as chair will likely be hard because Nissan directors that used to work at Renault may not back the dismissal until the allegations against Ghosn are made clear.

After an emergency meeting Tuesday, Renault announced that independent director Phillippe Lagayette would take over as interim chairman for the automaker and Chief Operating Officer Thierry Bollore will take over as interim CEO.

The scandal - the latest in a string to affect Japan Inc. - wiped millions off the stock value of all three companies but Nissan bounced back marginally in opening Tokyo trade, climbing almost half a percentage point in a falling market.

Ghosn, who was set to leave in 2022, had been laying the groundwork to ensure a future for the alliance, including the option of a merger.

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Bail cannot be granted until prosecutors decide whether to proceed with an indictment, a process that could take weeks, and Mr Ghosn will not necessarily be joined by an attorney when he is questioned during that time.

Renault's move to appoint a temporary leader was in line with a demand by the French government, which owns a 15 percent stake in the automaker.

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".

He had a reputation as a workaholic and won the nickname "Le Cost Killer" in France for his slash-and-burn approach to corporate restructuring.

Nissan has become the alliance's key player however, posting sales of ¥12 trillion (US$106 billion) a year ago compared with Renault's €59 billion (US$67 billion).

"I think this is someone who was able to do what we Japanese, stuck in our ways, were not able to do", passer-by Yoshiaki Watanabe told AFP.

Jeff Kingston, director of Asian Studies at Temple University Japan, said that Ghosn was "a victim of his own hubris and success".

Ghosn is suspected of having under-reported his salary to Japanese authorities by a total of around £34 million over the course of five years.

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