Ghosn to reveal who he blames for arrest in Japan: wife

Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn, left, and his wife Carole leave the office of his lawyer Junichiro Hironaka in Tokyo on April 3, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 07 April 2019
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Ghosn to reveal who he blames for arrest in Japan: wife

  • Former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn was re-arrested last week in Japan over fresh allegations of financial misconduct
  • Carole Ghosn has flown to Paris to try to pressure the French government to do more for her husband

PARIS: Arrested former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn is set to name the people he believes are responsible for his downfall in Japan, his wife said in an interview on Sunday as she fled Tokyo out of fear she could be detained.
Ghosn was re-arrested last week in the Japanese capital over fresh allegations of financial misconduct which will see him held in custody until at least April 14.
Speaking to the Journal du Dimanche newspaper in France, his wife Carole detailed the latest twists in the extraordinary saga, saying that Ghosn had recorded a video interview in English before his detention.
“He names the people responsible for what has happened to him. The lawyers have it. It will be released soon,” she told the newspaper.
Carole added that she had fled Tokyo on a flight to Paris — with support from the French ambassador to Tokyo — because she “felt in danger.”
Despite her Lebanese passport being confiscated by Japanese authorities, Carole said she was able to use her American passport to board a flight and was accompanied by the ambassador to the airport.
“He didn’t leave me until the plane,” she explained. “Up to the last second, I didn’t know if they were going to let me fly. It was surreal.”
The role of the French ambassador could lead to fresh friction between the countries over the highly sensitive case, which involves Nissan and French car maker Renault, which were both previously run by Ghosn.
Japanese news channel NHK said prosecutors in Tokyo wanted to question Carole on a voluntary basis.
Other reports in Japan say that investigators are looking into allegations that company money allegedly misused by Ghosn could have transited through a business that was run by his wife.
Carole intends now to try to pressure the French government to do more for her husband whose 108-day imprisonment in Japan between November 19 and March 6 had left him a “different person,” she told The Financial Times in a separate interview.
France’s foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Saturday he had raised the case during talks with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono on the sidelines of the meeting of Group of Seven (G7) foreign ministers in the French resort of Dinard.
Le Drian said he had “reminded him of our attachment to the presumption of innocence and the full rights of consular protection.”
Japanese authorities are looking into new allegations that Ghosn transferred some $15 million in Nissan funds between late 2015 and mid-2018 to a dealership in Oman.
They suspect around $5 million of these funds were siphoned off for Ghosn’s use, including for the purchase of a luxury yacht and financing personal investments.
Prosecutors say Ghosn “betrayed” his duty not to cause losses to Nissan “in order to benefit himself.”
Ghosn denies the allegations and says he is also innocent of the three formal charges he faces: two charges of deferring his salary and concealing that in official shareholders’ documents, and a further charge related to investment losses.
The man previously seen as the most powerful figure in the global car industry told French channel TF1 last week that he was “a combative man and an innocent man” and vowed to “defend myself to the bitter end.”
And he voiced concern that he would not be given a fair hearing in Japan where around 99 percent of trials result in a conviction.


British Steel collapses, threatening thousands of jobs

Updated 22 May 2019
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British Steel collapses, threatening thousands of jobs

LONDON: British Steel Ltd. has been ordered into liquidation as it struggles with industry-wide troubles and Brexit, threatening 5,000 workers and another 20,000 jobs in the supply chain.
The company had asked for a package of support to tackle issues related to Britain’s pending departure from the European Union. Talks with the government failed to secure a bailout, and the Insolvency Service announced the liquidation on Wednesday.
“The immediate priority following my appointment as liquidator of British Steel is to continue safe operation of the site,” said David Chapman, the official receiver, referring to the Scunthorpe plant in northeast England.
The company will continue to trade and supply its customers while Chapman considers options for the business. A team from financial firm EY will work with the receiver and all parties to “secure a solution.”
“To this end they have commenced a sale process to identify a purchaser for the businesses,” EY said in a statement.
The government said it had done all it could for the company, including providing a 120 million pound ($152 million) bridging facility to help meet emission trading compliance costs. Going further would not be lawful as it could be considered illegal state aid, Business Secretary Greg Clark said.
“I have been advised that it would be unlawful to provide a guarantee or loan on the terms of any proposals that the company or any other party has made,” he said.
Unions had called for the government to nationalize the business, but the government demurred.
The opposition Labour Party’s deputy leader, Tom Watson described the news as “devastating.”
“It is testament to the government’s industrial policy vacuum, and the farce of its failed Brexit,” he said in a tweet.
The crisis underscores the anxieties of British manufacturers, who have been demanding clarity around plans for Britain’s departure from the EU. Longstanding issues such as uncompetitive electricity prices also continue to deter investment in UK manufacturing, said Gareth Stace, the director-general of UK Steel, the trade association of the industry.
“Many of our challenges are far from unique to steel — the whole manufacturing sector is crying out for certainty over Brexit,” Stace said. “Unable to decipher the trading relationship the UK will have with its biggest market in just five months’ time, planning and decision making has become nightmarish in its complexity.”
Greybull Capital, which bought British Steel in 2016 for a nominal sum, said turning around the company was always going to be a challenge. It praised the trade union and management team, but said Brexit-related issues proved to be insurmountable.
“We are grateful to all those who supported British Steel on the attempted journey to resurrect this vital part of British industry,” it said in a statement.