Friday, 15 November, 2019

Renault board blocks payouts to Carlos Ghosn worth 10 million euros

Renault cancels €30m payment to Carlos Ghosn as jailed boss hires new lawyer Renault cancels €30m payment to Carlos Ghosn as jailed boss hires new lawyer
Ginger Lawrence | 14 February, 2019, 01:22

"As we begin the trial phase, I have chose to engage Hironaka-sensei as my legal counsel", Ghosn said in a statement, referring to Mr Hironaka with the honorific for teacher, often used in Japan for lawyers.

Ghosn has been held in detention since his November 19 arrest and indicted for under-reporting his salary and breach of trust.

"Renault wishes to specify that Mr. Ghosn resigned from his terms of office as Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer, but remains, as of the date hereof, Director of Renault SA", the company said in a statement.

It was unclear why Otsuru was no longer representing Ghosn. Ghosn denies the deferred pay was illegal or required disclosure.

Hironaka, 73, has won several high-profile cases, helping acquit senior lawmaker Ichiro Ozawa and senior bureaucrat Atsuko Muraki.

"As we begin the trial phase, I have made a decision to engage Hironaka-sensei as my legal counsel", Ghosn said.

Hironaka is a graduate of the University of Tokyo.

The surprise shake-up came on the eve of an expected first meeting between the Tokyo District Court, prosecutors, and defence lawyers to discuss the outlines of Ghosn's eventual trial.

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"Otsuru was miscast. He worked at the heart of the special prosecutors' office so he was not someone who was going to go after them aggressively", Gohara said.

He is accused of under-reporting millions of dollars in salary as head of Nissan, Renault's partner in an alliance Ghosn built up into the world's top-selling auto group.

Although he's resigned from his role as chairman and CEO at Nissan and Renault, Renault this week confirmed the currently-detained Ghosn is still a director on its board.

"I would like to thank Otsuru-sensei and his team for their tireless and diligent work and courage during the interrogation phase of my incarceration", Ghosn said, using a Japanese honorific title associated with lawyers.

"He's very calm and logical in his current situation", Otsuru said.

Lawyers for the French company have questioned Nissan's commitment to the alliance, while Nissan has hit back with accusations that Renault has not fully cooperated with the investigation into Ghosn, the Financial Times reported.

He also pointedly declined to criticise Ghosn's detention conditions, despite some worldwide concern about the repeated extension of the auto executive's pre-trial custody.

Legal experts say this is all a strategy to extract a confession and make a trial easier.