Facing a fresh charge, former Nissan chairman Ghosn gets ready to ‘tell the truth’

An internal probe by Nissan has found Carlos Ghosn had approved over $30 million in payments to a distributor in Oman. (AFP)
Updated 03 April 2019

Facing a fresh charge, former Nissan chairman Ghosn gets ready to ‘tell the truth’

  • Japanese investigators are reportedly eyeing a possible aggravated breach of trust charge against Carlos Ghosn
  • ‘I’m getting ready to tell the truth about what’s happening’

TOKYO: Tokyo prosecutors are considering pressing a fresh charge against Carlos Ghosn, local media said Wednesday, as the former Nissan boss announced on Twitter he would be giving his side of the story.
In the latest twist in a rollercoaster of a case, Japanese investigators are reportedly eyeing a possible aggravated breach of trust charge related to at least $32 million in Nissan funds transferred to a distributor in Oman.
Some of the money is believed to have been used to buy a luxury boat allegedly used by Ghosn and his family, according to a source familiar with the matter.
If Tokyo prosecutors were to proceed, it would be the fourth criminal charge against the 65-year-old former high-flying auto executive, who denies all allegations.
Ghosn already faces three charges of financial misconduct over allegations he under-reported his compensation and sought to transfer personal losses to Nissan’s books.
Tokyo district prosecutors are discussing the case with more senior colleagues before deciding whether to move ahead, Japanese media said.
Shortly after the reports emerged, a verified Twitter account in Ghosn’s name said he would be speaking to journalists next week.
“I’m getting ready to tell the truth about what’s happening. Press conference on Thursday, April 11,” said the tweet, sent early Wednesday afternoon.


A spokeswoman for the executive later confirmed the news conference in a statement to AFP.
If prosecutors were to file new charges, it would not necessarily mean Ghosn returns to the detention center where he spent more than three months before winning bail on March 6, according to a local lawyer.
“The prosecutor can hit Ghosn with new charges without sending him back to prison. Prosecutors would need to again justify a detention by saying he was a flight risk and could destroy evidence and the chances seem fairly slim,” said the lawyer, who asked to remain anonymous.
The news came after it emerged that lawyers for Renault — Nissan’s parent company that Ghosn also led — have handed over documents to prosecutors showing millions of euros in payments to the firm’s distributors in Oman.
An internal probe by Nissan, which is cooperating with prosecutors, has found Ghosn had approved over $30 million in payments to a distributor in Oman, a person familiar with the matter confirmed to AFP.
Some of this money ended up in personal accounts, or was used for purchases and investments by Ghosn — mainly to buy a yacht and make investments via his son’s firm — according to this person.
A spokesperson for Ghosn has already rejected these allegations.
“The payments made by Renault to the distributor in Oman have not been diverted from their commercial objectives and under no circumstances has all or part of such payments benefited Carlos Ghosn or his family,” said the representative in a statement.
In a bolt from the blue that rocked Japan and the business world, Ghosn was arrested on November 19 after prosecutors stormed his private jet at a Tokyo airport and took him into custody.
He spent more than 100 days in detention with limited access to lawyers before being released on a bail of nearly $9 million.
Nissan swiftly removed him as chairman and is also expected to remove him from the board at an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting slated for Monday.

 


Struggling WeWork mulls bailout deals with SoftBank, JP Morgan

Updated 14 October 2019

Struggling WeWork mulls bailout deals with SoftBank, JP Morgan

TOKYO: Under-pressure start-up WeWork is considering two huge bailout plans including a cash injection that could see Japanese investment titan SoftBank take control of the firm, according to reports.
The office-sharing giant had been on course for a massive initial public offering until last month when questions began to be asked over its governance and profit outlook.
The firm’s valuation plunged from $47 billion in January to less than $20 billion in September and the listing plans have been dropped, while co-founder Adam Neumann stepped down as chief executive.
With New York-based parent company We Co. not expected to push for the IPO this year, the cash-strapped firm is looking for a financial lifeline.
The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Bloomberg News cited unnamed sources close to the talks as saying SoftBank — the US firm’s biggest shareholder — had drawn up a proposal that gives it full control of WeWork.
The move would dilute the voting power of Neumann, who remains as chairman of the company he started in 2010 and also currently maintains control a majority of voting shares.
They also reported that WeWork is looking at a deal with Wall Street giant JP Morgan to raise $5 billion in debt, with the Times saying directors of We would be meeting as soon as Monday afternoon to discuss that.
“WeWork has retained a major Wall Street financial institution to arrange financing,” the Journal reported a company spokesman as saying.
“Approximately 60 financing sources have signed confidentiality agreements and are meeting with the company’s management and its bankers over the course of this past week and this coming week.”
The New York-based startup that launched in 2010 has touted itself as revolutionizing commercial real estate by offering shared, flexible workspace arrangements, and has operations in 111 cities in 29 countries.
However, the company, which lost $1.9 billion last year, has faced skepticism over its ability to make money, especially if the global economy slows significantly.