Court rejects request by Carlos Ghosn to attend Nissan board meeting

Time 1:44 pm, March 11, 2019

A JAPANESE court today rejected a request by former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn to attend the car maker’s upcoming board meeting.

The manufacturer dismissed him as chairman after his arrest on November 19, but he remains on the board.

It had been unclear whether Ghosn, who was released on bail last week, could attend tomorrow’s board meeting. Tokyo District Court’s approval was needed based on restrictions imposed for his release on bail.

The restrictions say he cannot tamper with evidence, and attending the board meeting could be seen as putting pressure on Nissan employees.

Prosecutors had been expected to argue against his attendance.

Ghosn has been charged with falsifying financial reports in underreporting his compensation and breach of trust in making payments to a Saudi businessman and having Nissan shoulder investment losses.

He insists he is innocent, saying the compensation was never decided or paid, the payments were for legitimate services and Nissan never suffered the losses.

Since his release from Tokyo Detention Centre last week on bail of one billion yen (circa £6.8m), he has been spotted taking walks in Tokyo with his family, but he has not made any comments.

His attempt to exercise what his lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka, called his ‘duty’ by attending the board meeting signals one way he may be fighting back.

Hironaka has said Ghosn will speak to reporters soon. A date for a news conference has not been announced, though.

Nissan appears determined to highlight new leadership without Ghosn. It is part of an alliance with Renault SA of France, and more recently with Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors, that was largely cobbled together by Ghosn, who led Nissan for two decades.

It said Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard, Renault chief executive Thierry Bollore, Nissan Motor Co chief executive Hiroto Saikawa and Osamu Masuko, the chairman and chief executive of Mitsubishi Motors Corp, will hold a joint news conference tomorrow after the board meeting.

Nissan has denounced Ghosn for alleged misconduct. A decision at a shareholders’ meeting is needed to remove him from the board, with a meeting understood to be taking place on April 8.

MORE: Disguised Carlos Ghosn leaves detention on bail of one billion yen

MORE: New lawyer for Ghosn questions handling of case

MORE: Renault names new leaders to replace Ghosn

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