Nissan cancels lease on Ghosn's Tokyo apartment

Cornelia Mascio
Gennaio 14, 2019

Ghosn's lawyers have argued that the deferred amounts were not fixed commitments and did not need to be disclosed. She received payments totalling almost EUR500,000 (USD580,000) on top of her salary over several years, according to documents obtained by AFP.

A source with knowledge of the alleged payments said Sepehri was "the only one" of nine directors of a Dutch holding company to have received such compensation from the alliance, which also comprises Mitsubishi Motors.

The new allegations raise the stakes in a showdown between Ghosn, until recently the head of the vast car-making alliance of Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi, and the prosecutors, who have been working in tandem with whistleblowers inside Nissan.

His future had been in question following the November 19 arrest of Ghosn in Japan and criticism from current Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa. Sepehri is close to Ghosn, and also serves as a board member at Renault-Nissan B.V. There has been criticism in France of the Japanese legal system for keeping him in prolonged pre-trial detention, along with darker suggestions that forces at Nissan are plotting against their former boss. Currently, the individual is serving on the board of major French carmaker Renault. Ghosn was swiftly ousted as Nissan chairman but remains at the helm of Renault.

In a statement responding to reports about the Sepehri payments, Renault slammed what it called a "deliberately orchestrated campaign of destabilisation". He was later indicted, along with Kelly and Nissan itself, on suspicion of withholding millions of dollars in income from Nissan financial filings between 2011 and 2015, when he was both chairman and chief executive of the company. Renault and the French government have stood by him, presuming him innocent until proven otherwise.

Nissan Motor Co Ltd has terminated the lease to ex-Chairman Carlos Ghosn's luxury apartment in Tokyo. Kelly has denied wrongdoing, as well. Lawyers for the former jet-setting executive filed a bail application hours later, but have acknowledged that he will probably be detained until a trial. He rebutted each allegation and asserted his innocence in a Tokyo court earlier this week, his first public appearance since his arrest.

The other new charge says Ghosn reported 2.9 billion yen ($26.9 million) in compensation, when he earned more than 7.1 billion yen ($65.7 million) in the three years ending in June 2018. The former executive, lauded for rescuing Nissan from the financial brink two decades ago, was charged with aggravated breach of trust for temporarily transferring personal investment losses to Nissan in 2008. Ghosn - who has been formally arrested three times, prolonging his detention - has faced interrogation without a lawyer, and so far he has been permitted to see only diplomats or his Japanese lawyer.

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