Nissan delays decision on Ghosn successor
Chair could remain in detention until the end of 2018 because Tokyo prosecutors plan to rearrest him on a fresh claim of understating his income
Tokyo — Nissan Motor failed on Tuesday to nominate a successor to Carlos Ghosn as chair of the car maker in the wake of his arrest and dismissal for alleged financial misconduct in November, Kyodo News said.
Ghosn could remain in detention until the end of 2018 because Tokyo prosecutors plan to rearrest him on a fresh claim of understating his income, the Sankei newspaper reported earlier on Tuesday.
A three-member panel of external Nissan directors put off a decision on recommending a replacement for the jailed Ghosn, Kyodo News said, without citing sources for its information,
The carmaker did not immediately reply to a request for a comment on the report.
Ghosn’s arrest to face charges including the underreporting of income has triggered new attempts by Nissan to weaken Renault’s control of their Franco-Japanese alliance.
Ghosn, 64, was the architect of the alliance and one of the best-known figures in the car industry.
Nissan has tasked former trade and industry official Masakazu Toyoda, retired Renault executive Jean-Baptiste Duzan and race car driver Keiko Ihara with the selection of a new chair, which is to be submitted to the rest of the board at their next meeting on December 17. Changes to the board must be approved by shareholders.
Ghosn has been detained in Tokyo since his November 19 arrest on suspicion of conspiring with former Nissan representative director Greg Kelly to understate his compensation by about half of the actual ¥10bn ($88m), over five years from 2010. Tokyo authorities on Friday extended their detention until the maximum December 10 for the alleged crime.
Citing unnamed sources, the Sankei daily said prosecutors plan to arrest Ghosn and Kelly on December 10 for the same crime covering the period from 2015 to 2017, during which the suspects allegedly understated Ghosn’s income by about ¥4bn.
If authorities approve the maximum detention for that case, Ghosn and Kelly would remain in custody until December 30, the paper said.
The Tokyo prosecutors’ office declined to comment on the report.
Ghosn has been unable to respond to the allegations, which public broadcaster NHK has said he has denied. Calls to Ghosn’s lawyer, Motonari Otsuru, at his office went unanswered.
In Japan, crime suspects can be kept in custody for 10 days and that can be extended for another 10 days if a judge grants prosecutors’ request for an extension. At the end of that period, prosecutors must file a formal charge or let the suspect go.
However, they can also arrest suspects for a separate crime, in which case the process starts over again. This process can be repeated, sometimes keeping suspects detained for months without formal charges and without bail.