Arrest of ousted Nissan Chairman Ghosn invites conspiracy theories

Talks of a possible conspiracy within Nissan’s senior ranks have surfaced in news reports on both sides of the Pacific in recent days, and they normally might have been greeted with a laugh. But a number of people close to Nissan are not dismissing the subject outright, the people said. Some, if anything, are taking it quite seriously.

“The timing seems more than coincidental,” suggested one former top auto executive who has high-level ties with Nissan.

Nissan spokeswoman Christina Adamski declined to comment for this story, pointing to the company’s previous statement on Ghosn’s arrest Nov. 19. Nissan accused then-Chairman Ghosn and board member Greg Kelly of conspiring to conceal Ghosn’s full pay from Japanese authorities as well as “numerous other significant acts of misconduct.”

Nissan CEO Hirota Saikawa appointed himself as chairman and also fired Kelly. Mitsubishi Motors also removed Ghosn as chairman of its board. Renault’s chief operating officer, Thierry Bollore, is filling in for Ghosn as CEO on a temporary basis. Both Renault and the alliance have retained Ghosn as chairman and CEO so far.

Ghosn couldn’t be reached for comment, and his U.S.-based attorneys at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Mitsubishi and Renault didn’t return requests for comment for this story.

Following Ghosn’s ouster at Mitsubishi, CEO Osamu Masuko said the move was “unavoidable,” though it was also “an agonizing decision.” He added that, “The priority was what to do to protect the company, what to do to protect our employees and their families.”

Source : CNBC

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