Japan prosecutors weigh bringing case against Nissan after Ghosn arrest -Asahi

This file photo taken on January 4, 2016 shows chairman, president and CEO of Nissan Motor, Carlos Ghosn, gesturing during a press conference at the company's Brazilian headquarters in downtown Rio de Janeiro. (AFP)
Updated 21 November 2018
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Japan prosecutors weigh bringing case against Nissan after Ghosn arrest -Asahi

  • Ghosn, one of the global car industry’s best-known leaders, was arrested on Monday after Nissan’s internal investigations found he had allegedly engaged in years of wrongdoing

TOKYO: Japanese prosecutors are considering bringing a case against Nissan Motor Co. after Chairman Carlos Ghosn’s arrest on suspicion of financial misconduct, the Asahi Shimbun daily said on Wednesday.
Ghosn, one of the global car industry’s best-known leaders, was arrested on Monday after Nissan’s internal investigations found he had allegedly engaged in years of wrongdoing, including personal use of company money and under-reporting earnings. The Japanese company plans to remove him as chairman on Thursday.
Prosecutors said Ghosn and Representative Director Greg Kelly conspired to understate Ghosn’s compensation over five years starting in fiscal 2010 as being about half of the actual 10 billion yen ($88.65 million).
The Asahi quoted unnamed sources as saying that the mis-stating meant the company also bore responsibility and that prosecutors were eyeing the possibility of putting together a case against it.
Prosecutors were not immediately able to comment. Nissan declined to comment on the report.
There has been no comment from Ghosn or Kelly on any of the allegations against them, including a report in Japan’s Nikkei business daily on Tuesday that Ghosn had received share price-linked compensation of about 4 billion yen over a five-year period to March 2015 but that it went unreported in Nissan’s financial reports.
Reuters could not contact Ghosn or Kelly for comment.
Ghosn is also chairman and chief executive of Nissan’s French partner Renault, and chairman of Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors Corp, the third partner in the alliance.
Renault on Tuesday tapped its chief operating officer and a senior board member to fill in for Ghosn, but the board refrained from firing him while awaiting for detail on the allegations — a decision that could buy more time for an accelerated, permanent succession process.
Shares in Nissan rose 0.6 percent on Wednesday after falling nearly 6 percent a day earlier. ($1 = 112.8000 yen)


Energy giants spent $1bn on climate lobbying, PR since Paris: watchdog

Updated 23 March 2019
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Energy giants spent $1bn on climate lobbying, PR since Paris: watchdog

  • Firms under pressure to explain how greener laws will hit business models

PARIS: The five largest publicly listed oil and gas majors have spent $1 billion since the 2015 Paris climate deal on public relations or lobbying that is “overwhelmingly in conflict” with the landmark accord’s goals, a watchdog said Friday.
Despite outwardly committing to support the Paris agreement and its aim to limit global temperature rises, ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, BP and Total spend a total of $200 million a year on efforts “to operate and expand fossil fuel operations,” according to InfluenceMap, a pro-transparency monitor.
Two of the companies — Shell and Chevron — said they rejected the watchdog’s findings.
“The fossil fuel sector has ramped up a quite strategic program of influencing the climate agenda,” InfluenceMap Executive Director Dylan Tanner told AFP.
“It’s a continuum of activity from their lobby trade groups attacking the details of regulations, controlling them all the way up, to controlling the way the media thinks about the oil majors and climate.”
The report comes as oil and gas giants are under increasing pressure from shareholders to come clean over how greener lawmaking will impact their business models.
As planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions hit their highest levels in human history in 2018, the five companies wracked up total profits of $55 billion.
At the same time, the International Panel on Climate Change — composed of the world’s leading climate scientists — issued a call for a radical drawdown in fossil fuel use in order to hit the 1.5C (2.7 Fahrenheit) cap laid out in the Paris accord.
InfluenceMap looked at accounts, lobbying registers and communications releases since 2015, and alleged a large gap between the climate commitments companies make and the action they take.

 

It said all five engaged in lobbying and “narrative capture” through direct contact with lawmakers and officials, spending millions on climate branding, and by employing trade associations to represent the sector’s interests in policy discussions.
“The research reveals a trend of carefully devised campaigns of positive messaging combined with negative policy lobbying on climate change,” it said.
It added that of the more than $110 billion the five had earmarked for capital investment in 2019, just $3.6bn was given over to low-carbon schemes.
The report came one day after the European Parliament was urged to strip ExxonMobil lobbyists of their access, after the US giant failed to attend a hearing where expert witnesses said the oil giant has knowingly misled the public over climate change.
“How can we accept that companies spending hundreds of millions on lobbying against the EU’s goal of reaching the Paris agreement are still granted privileged access to decision makers?” said Pascoe Sabido, Corporate Europe Observatory’s climate policy researcher, who was not involved in the InfluenceMap report.
The report said Exxon alone spent $56 million a year on “climate branding” and $41 million annually on lobbying efforts.
In 2017 the company’s shareholders voted to push it to disclose what tougher emissions policies in the wake of Paris would mean for its portfolio.
With the exception of France’s Total, each oil major had largely focused climate lobbying expenditure in the US, the report said.
Chevron alone has spent more than $28 million in US political donations since 1990, according to the report.
AFP contacted all five oil and gas companies mentioned in the report for comment.
“We disagree with the assertion that Chevron has engaged in ‘climate-related branding and lobbying’ that is ‘overwhelmingly in conflict’ with the Paris Agreement,” said a Chevron spokesman.
“We are taking action to address potential climate change risks to our business and investing in technology and low carbon business opportunities that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
A spokeswoman for Shell — which the report said spends $49 million annually on climate lobbying — said it “firmly rejected” the findings.
“We are very clear about our support for the Paris Agreement, and the steps that we are taking to help meet society’s needs for more and cleaner energy,” they told AFP.
BP, ExxonMobil and Total did not provide comment to AFP.

FACTOID

$ 28m

Chevron alone has spent more than $28 million in US political donations since 1990, according to the report.