Ghosn, Nissan ex-chair, sets his sights on restoring the brand

Carlos Ghosn is not about to retire in quiet retirement. He was a former star of the auto industry.

Ghosn, Nissan ex-chair, sets his sights on restoring the brand

Ghosn, the former head of Nissan-Renault, fled to Lebanon in 2019 while he was being held on bail in Japan for financial misconduct charges. Ghosn, who was the former head of the Nissan-Renault alliance, spoke out in a recent interview with The Associated Press. He expressed confidence, vigor, and determination to help restore his reputation.

"I'm going there. Ghosn, 67 years old, stated via Zoom that he would defend his rights "as long as I have enough energy to do so," he said from Beirut. He said that his story was "far from over."

Ghosn fled Japan hiding in a large cargo box aboard a private plane. Ghosn, a Brazilian-born Frenchman, fled Japan while hiding in a large cargo box on a private jet. He sought refuge in Lebanon, where he was able to return to his family homeland.

Ghosn stated that he is working to get Interpol's red flag down, which asks police around the world to arrest and seek out people wanted for trial or sentence. Although he is eager to travel to other countries, the process will likely be lengthy and bureaucratic.

Japanese prosecutors claim they will continue to pursue him for allegations of failing to report his compensation and breach of trust in using Nissan money for personal gain. He denies these charges.

Japan has extradition agreements with the U.S., South Korea, and prosecutors stated that they would seek assistance from other countries such as Brazil and France if Ghosn is to travel there.

Ghosn is also being investigated in France. He is currently being sued in Japan by Nissan Motor Co. for financial damages. Tokyo prosecutors refused to forward his files to Lebanon so that the criminal case could be tried there.

Renault, Nissan's French alliance partner, sent Ghosn to Japan in 1999 as a guide to a turnaround at a time when the Japanese automaker was near collapse. Ghosn made Nissan more profitable than Renault. Ghosn expanded the partnership to include Mitsubishi Motors Corp., a smaller competitor, and other automakers. Renault owns 15% of Nissan, while Nissan has 43%. Renault is owned by 15% of the French government.

Analysts put the cost of the Ghosn scandal to the Nissan-Renault alliance at billions of dollars in terms both of sales and capital value. After losing money the past two years, Nissan is expecting to make a profit in this fiscal year.

Aaron Ho, an analyst at CFRA Research in New York, believes that Nissan is now behind in a highly competitive industry due to the Ghosn scandal.

He stated that "Before Nissan solves its internal problems over corporate power, and puts its resources into making tangible progress --which takes a long time and has been wasted --to create values for its end demands, we aren't optimistic."

Ghosn claims that the case against him was fabricated in a power struggle within Nissan’s boardroom. He claimed he wanted to prove "a conspiracy" of Nissan officials, who were concerned about a Renault takeover and urged Japanese authorities to bring a criminal case against them.

He said, "The only way that I can qualify them is: Thugs inside Nissan."

Nissan, which denounced Ghosn's actions, doesn't comment on Ghosn's case.

Greg Kelly, a former Nissan Motor Co. top executive, testified at the trial and was also arrested alongside Ghosn. This testimony has proven that Nissan officials sought out prosecutors.

Kelly and Ghosn are being sued for complex calculations they used to compensate Ghosn for a pay cut that he received in retirement. This was before disclosure of large executive salaries became a legal requirement in Japan in 2009.

Ghosn is accused of breaking the law by not reporting that compensation was received. This, according to prosecution. Kelly claims he is innocent and was trying legal methods to pay Ghosn for his continued employment.

Ironically, Ghosn claims that the money he allegedly failed report was based upon him retiring in 2018, which was the year he was arrested.

Ghosn is anything but retired. Ghosn is busy working on movies, teaching management classes, consulting businesses, and helping with university research on "character murder".

"Look. When asked about his other projects, he replied, "Books, books, books,"

In September, "Broken Alliances," an English translation of "Le temps de la verite," came out. His wife Carole is also wanted in Japan and he is currently writing a book about their experience.

Japan's system is criticized by human rights activists and others as "hostage justice". It allows suspects to be interrogated for days without the presence of a lawyer, while they are held in isolation in a small, cramped cell. There are questions about forced confessions given the conviction rate of more than 99%.

Ghosn stated, "One of my best things for Japan is to fight with all those who are opposed in Japan against the hostage justice systems."

His Nissan Patrol Sport-Utility Vehicle Patrol, which he built, is his ride. It's a Nissan that he still drives. He insists that he couldn't have foreseen all the trouble that would befall him.

He said, "If someone was telling you that I was going be arrested before it happened," you would laugh. You'd say, "Come on. It's a joke.

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