Welcome to the high-stakes corporate world.
Japanese prosecutors have requested that former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn remain in jail for another 10 days, specifically until January 11. He’s been in the slammer since November 19 when he was arrested upon arrival in Tokyo, Japan, charged with under-reporting his salary by around $44 million between the years of 2011-2015. Again, these are only allegations at this time and nothing has been proven, but Japanese prosecutors must feel confident about the case to continue detaining such a high-profile corporate executive.
They also claim he’s a flight risk and Japanese law allows for him to be detained for months, even right up until a trial gets underway, out of fear of evidence tampering. But Ghosn’s family thinks something else is going on, according to the Associated Press.
The claim is that the alleged underreported amount of money was never really decided or even paid. Moreover, Nissan never suffered any financial losses from Ghosn’s alleged breach of trust. According to a New York Times report, Ghosn’s daughters believe Nissan executives set their father up as part of a mutiny against his intentions to merge Nissan and Renault. Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa, they point out, previously complained about the status of the alliance at the press conference just after Ghosn’s arrest.
Other top Nissan officials were reportedly unhappy with Ghosn’s emperor-like status, believing he simply had too much power. Could the charges against him be nothing more than a way to get rid of Ghosn completely?
It’s possible, but prosecutors have yet to fully lay out their case against him publically. In other words, the argument his daughters are making is merely speculation at this time. Falsifying financial reporting is a serious crime in Japan, so serious that the maximum punishment is 10 years in prison and/or an $89,000 fine.
Meanwhile, French authorities have not charged Ghosn with anything. In fact, he still remains chairman of Renault. Renault also owns 43 percent of Nissan and given the rumor Ghosn wanted to merge the automakers, further eliminating Japanese influence, could be one reason why Nissan and Japanese prosecutors made their move when they did.