- Carlos Ghosn, 64, amassed a $US120 million net worth while he was the head ranking official at the Nissan-Renault-MitsubishiMotors automotive alliance over the past two decades.
- Ghosn reportedly fled Japan for Lebanon on December 30 by hiding in a box meant for musical instruments on a private jet, violating the terms of his bail agreement.
- On January 2, Interpol issued a warrant for his arrest, but Lebanese officials have not said if they will take action.
- The former CEO was awaiting trial in Japan after being arrested for misreporting his salary and compensation in November 2018.
- In their first public statement after Ghosn’s escape, Japanese prosecutors said it was “easy for him to flee” because of his wealth and power. Prosecutors said they also feared that Ghosn would destroy evidence, and defended their decision to detain him for months after his initial arrest, The Guardian reported.
- Nissan is now struggling. The automaker will cut at least 12,500 jobs by March 2023, The Times reported on July 25.
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Carlos Ghosn has fled prosecution in Japan, storing himself away in a box designed for musical instruments on a private jet on December 30, according to media reports.
Ghosn said in a statement that he would “no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system where guilt is presumed, discrimination is rampant, and basic human rights are denied.”
The former Nissan CEO was awaiting trial in Japan on financial-misconduct charges and had been forbidden from leaving the country as a part of $US13 million bail agreement. Prosecutors in Japan have alleged that Ghosn earned a salary of about 10 billion yen, or $US88.7 million, from 2011 to 2015 but reported only half of that. Ghosn, who is 64, could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to 10 million yen if found to have committed wrongdoing.
Keep reading to learn more about the rise and downfall of Carlos Ghosn.
Ghosn was named COO of Nissan in 1999 and later CEO in 2001 after the Renault-Nissan Alliance was formed. In 2016, Mitsubishi joined. The three act as separate entities, while also identifying as a global grouping.
Ghosn was known for his cost-cutting methods — closing factories and cutting jobs while increasing profits and output. Nissan quickly surpassed Honda as the No. 2 automaker in Japan under Ghosn’s leadership …
… for which he was greatly compensated. According to BBC’s review of company records, Ghosn made over $US17 million in 2017 in salary, share options and bonuses. As company success grew, so did Ghosn’s net worth. As of 2018, his net worth was around $US120 million.
Ghosn flew around the world using a series of Nissan-owned Gulfstream private jets, including a G650, which can seat up to 19 passengers, sleep up to 10, fly more than 8,000 miles, and can cost more than $US67 million.
As chairman of Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi – three car companies on two continents halfway around the world from one another – Ghosn spent a considerable amount of time flying on Nissan’s corporate jets between France and Japan. He also had frequent stopovers in the United States, Brazil, and Lebanon.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Nissan paid over 8,000 euros a month for an Amsterdam apartment that was used exclusively by Ghosn.
And in Beirut, Nissan reportedly paid nearly $US9 million in 2012 for a salmon-coloured mansion for Ghosn to live in when he travelled.
In Tokyo, Nissan paid nearly $US9,000 a month for Ghosn and family to live in a flat for only a “few days each month on average.” But then, all of a sudden, Ghosn’s world came crashing down.
Nissan would soon begin seizing keys and blocking access from six of its properties frequented by Ghosn and his family.
On November 19, 2018, prosecutors surrounded Ghosn’s Gulfstream after it touched down in Japan. Prosecutors alleged that Ghosn hid his earnings from Nissan filings for years.
The New York Times
On November 19, 2018, Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa confirmed the arrest of Ghosn after a months-long investigation into alleged financial crimes, like underreporting compensation to regulators. The Nissan board voted just two days later to remove Ghosn from his position as chairman.
A week after Ghosn’s arrest, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. Chairman and CEO Osamu Masuko announced the company would be ousting Ghosn from his role, too.
Ghosn was reportedly kept in the same facility that previously housed death-row inmates and given limited access to the outside world. Reports indicate that he was allowed to bathe twice a week and had 30 minutes a day of exercise.
In a January 2019 court hearing, Ghosn denied any wrongdoing on his behalf, and said he was “wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated accusations.” The next day his detention appeal was denied.
On January 23, Ghosn resigned as chairman and chief executive officer of Renault, French finance minister Bruno Le Maire told Bloomberg Television in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Bloomberg reported in February that Ghosn may have used Renault funds inappropriately to “pay for his wedding party at the Chateau de Versailles” — marking the first indecency reported by the company toward its former head executive.
At the end of February, Ghosn hired lawyer Junichiro Hironaka, who said Ghosn’s arrest was a result of a conspiracy inside Nissan. Hironaka said he believes Ghosn is innocent.
“The prosecutors have made a criminal case out of an issue that should have been handled inside the company,” said Hironaka at a press conference.
The Wall Street Journal
In March, Ghosn, wearing blue workman’s clothes and a baseball cap, was released after 108 days in a Japanese jail and after paying a nearly $US9 million bail.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Ghosn went to a court-approved residence in Tokyo. A trial was said to be happening later in 2018.
The Wall Street Journal
He was forbidden from contact with anyone outside of the country by phone or computer. “I am extremely grateful for my family and friends who have stood by me throughout this terrible ordeal,” Ghosn said in a statement released in March.
The Wall Street Journal
Ghosn was rearrested on April 4 on new charges and then released on a $US4.5 million bail later that month.
Source: Business Insider
Nissan is now struggling. In July, the automaker announced that it will cut at least 12,500 jobs — about 9% of its total workforce.
Ghosn and Nissan settled their case with the SEC on September 24. The company will pay a $US15 million fine, and Ghosn himself will pay $US1 million, the Times reported.
Source: The New York Times
Hari Nada, the Nissan senior vice president who reported Ghosn and is set to testify against Ghosn in a Japanese trial, was found to have also improperly overpaid himself during an investigation by an outside law firm on October 7.
On December 30, 2018, Ghosn fled to Lebanon from Japan, violating the terms of his bail agreement. Media reports said he hid in a box designed for musical instruments on board a private jet. Ghosn said in a statement that he had “escaped injustice and political persecution” in Japan.
Source: Business Insider
Ghosn is now believed to be hiding out in his home in Beirut, Lebanon, where he has citizenship. On January 2, Interpol issued a warrant for Ghosn’s arrest, but Lebanese officials have not said if they will take action.
In their first public statement after Ghosn’s escape, Japanese prosecutors said it was “easy for him to flee” because of his wealth and power. Prosecutors said they also feared that Ghosn would destroy evidence and defended their decision to detain him for months after his initial arrest.
Source: The Guardian