The case of Carlos Ghosn is accelerating in Japan with new media revelations that intensified the threat to Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Motors, as the balance of this triangle seemed to be based on a single man who brutally fell from his pedestal.
Accused of confiscating much of his friendly income from Japanese financial authorities, the 64-year-old was still in police custody in Tokyo Prison on Tuesday after his arrest at the end of his private plane.
But in France, Economy Minister Bruno Lemaire assured Mr. Ghosn was in good standing. "There is nothing special," he said after asking his services to "check the tax situation of Carlosa Ghosn in France."
According to the Prosecutor's Office, Ghosn "has conspired to minimize five times the compensation from June 2011 to June 2015," which claimed only $ 4.9 billion (about € 37 million at the current price) from 10 billion yen for that period.
The arrest of the French-Lebanese-Brazilian is the culmination of Nissan's several-month internal investigation that handed the information to the prosecutor.
At a press conference held Monday night, Nissan chairman Hiroto Saikawa also mentioned "many other bad practices, such as using corporate assets for personal purposes."
According to local media, Nissan's subsidiary was financing the purchase of luxury homes in four countries, real estate in which Mr. Ghosn went free when he liked it. In addition, according to the public channel, NHK reportedly added amounts that were declared on behalf of other directors.
– Fragile equilibrium –
On the side of the Japanese and French authorities, whether French President Emmanuel Macron or Japanese Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko, the only one is that the "stability of the alliance", built on a fragile balance, is now jeopardized if Carlos Ghosn does not get back from the scandal.
The case comes at a time when the CEO of all ten million cars worked to make the lines "irreversible" between Renault and Nissan, said Kentaro Harada, an analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities.
"We can not rule out the possibility that the alliance will be weakened." "It will change the balance of power (between the French and Japanese parties) is a major issue," he says.
The subject is very sensitive, while the French state holds 15% of Renault's capital.
The court aspect of the case also, according to the expert, raises "countless questions". "Why did these mistakes come up now and how would Mr. Ghosn, along with Greg Kelly (another Nissan officer in custody), fake documents themselves?" he asks.
– "The question of money" –
Mr. Saikawa had a very tough word against his former teacher who said he had fallen that he had concentrated too much power. "It is a problem that so much authority was given to one person," he said, condemning the "dark side of the Ghosn era."
Nissan's Board of Directors will vote on the release of its chairman on Thursday morning. Mitsubishi Motors (MMC) announced a similar decision.
Renault's board will meet on Tuesday.
The French government has asked for the introduction of the interim proceedings because it noted that Mr Ghosn is no longer able to lead a group, Bruno Le Maire said.
Shares of Japanese cars suffered on Tuesday in Tokyo, closing 5.45% for Nissan and 6.84% for MMC.
In Paris, Renault lost 1.42% soon after opening when it unscrewed 8.43% on Monday.
After being put on a Nissan rescue booth at the turn of the 1920s and recently by Mitsubishi Motors when he made a strong alliance with the French Renault group, Carlos Ghosn was thrown into hiding.
"It's greedy, it's just a matter of money," Yomiuri said. "He asked his subordinates to meet demanding goals, but he was still getting high pay even though Nissan's business was not that successful," he adds.
At Nissan headquarters in Yokohama, suburban Tokyo, employees were amazed. "It was completely unexpected, I do not know what I think," said Nikkei, a 38-year-old employee of the business document. "It happens at the worst time," he said, because Nissan was hit by two consecutive scandals due to shortcomings in the Japanese vehicle inspection.
LNT with AFP