Former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn: ‘Am I guilty or innocent? Let’s finish this ordeal’

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Updated 25 April 2022

Former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn: ‘Am I guilty or innocent? Let’s finish this ordeal’

Former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn: ‘Am I guilty or innocent? Let’s finish this ordeal’
  • New arrest warrant based on documents stolen from his home in Lebanon, he tells Arab News

PARIS: Carlos Ghosn first heard about the international warrant issued by France for his arrest while reading a newspaper, the fugitive former automobile executive has told Arab News.

Speaking after the arrest warrant issued by France made the headlines worldwide today, Carlos Ghosn said he knew about the warrant like everyone else, while reading the newspaper. “I thought that in the French system at least the investigating judge would have the courtesy to alert you first before, you read it in the newspaper. Neither my advocates, my lawyers nor myself were informed and, until now, we don't have any official information about the arrest warrant.”

Ghosn, who has been awaiting trial for several years, on charges that he understated his compensation in Nissan’s financial statements confirmed the arrest warrant was a totally normal step for France at this level, so they can close the investigation part of the process. “This is not a verdict” he said.

The arrest warrant was not surprising to Ghosn and his lawyer he said “The arrest warrant is the beginning of the real judicial process, which consists in to going to trial... What was surprising is the timing; it's happening at a moment that is very politically charged in France”, he told Arab News, stating that he is not yet officially informed me about it.

Given the Red Notice that was requested by Japan, Ghosn cannot leave Lebanon and go to France, so he believes that the transmission of the files to Lebanon where he could face trial is the only way forward to finish what they have begun (the trial). As per Ghosn, he, and his lawyers should be granted the access to the documents of the investigating judge, which the Japanese authorities are basing their charges on.

Ghosn explained to Arab News that the accusation by the French investigating judge are based on documents that have been transmitted by the Japanese prosecutor, and specified that most of these documents were unlawfully taken from his house in Lebanon by Nissan employees. “There is a criminal investigation in Lebanon about how these documents have been taken from Lebanon, and I'm waiting eagerly for the conclusion,” he highlighted, adding that the prosecution did not even challenge the integrity of these documents.

“He (the prosecutor) didn't even challenge if they (the documents) have been truncated, manipulated, added, distorted”.

He was surprised when he left Japan to Lebanon, that the file of his trial was transferred to France and not to Lebanon, saying that until now, he couldn’t get hold of the file. “The Lebanese authority have requested many times the file to the Japanese authority, they refused to hand them the file” he said.

As per Ghosn, the Lebanese authorities are going to ask the French ones to transfer the file, so that they bring him to trial on all the accusations.

It has been a very long process for Ghosn. “Now we are in a position where we can defend ourself, obviously we need to know exactly what are the accusation, as you know, we just try to guess them, through the interrogation I've been through, all through the leaks to the press,” he said, “I have been, in a certain way, kept in Lebanon now for two years and a half, without any possibility to finish this ordeal so it's about time that it happens.”

“Am I guilty or I am or am I innocent? and let's finish the story, that has, frankly, lasted too long to my detriment, obviously, but also to the detriment of Renault and Nissan because as you've seen the results of the two companies for the last three years has been dismal and really far from what these two companies have shown, under my leadership for the many years before my arrest,” he concluded.

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Jordan, Qatar lift restrictions on passenger, cargo flights 

Jordan, Qatar lift restrictions on passenger, cargo flights 
Updated 8 sec ago

Jordan, Qatar lift restrictions on passenger, cargo flights 

Jordan, Qatar lift restrictions on passenger, cargo flights 
  • The MoU is expected to have significant positive outcomes on the overall economic and investment activity and increase the volume of air transport between the two countries

Jordan and Qatar have lifted all restrictions on the capacity and number of passenger and cargo flights operating between the two countries, the Jordan News Agency (Petra) reported on Wednesday. 

Chief Commissioner and CEO of the Jordan Civil Aviation Regulatory Commission (CARC) Haitham Misto and the President of Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to fully resume direct air transport between the two countries. 

The MoU is expected to have significant positive outcomes on the overall economic and investment activity and increase the volume of air transport between the two countries, Petra said. 

The move is also in line with Jordan’s gradual liberalization policy of air transport under the National Air Transport Strategy, according to Petra. 


Saudi Astra Industrial H1 profit zooms 202% to $85m as sales rise

Saudi Astra Industrial H1 profit zooms 202% to $85m as sales rise
Updated 9 min 17 sec ago

Saudi Astra Industrial H1 profit zooms 202% to $85m as sales rise

Saudi Astra Industrial H1 profit zooms 202% to $85m as sales rise

RIYADH: Saudi Astra Industrial Group saw its profit soar 202 percent to SR318 million ($85 million) during the first half of 2022, bolstered by a rise in sales.

The company’s net profit almost tripled from SR105 million in the same period in 2021, driven by revenue growth of over 10 percent, according to a bourse filing.

Its revenue surged to SR1.24 billion, compared to SR1.12 billion a year earlier, while the profit per share went up to SR3.97 from SR1.32.

During the second quarter, Astra Industrial Group’s Al Tanmiya Steel sold its stake in Iraqi unit Al Anmaa for Construction Materials Production in a SR731 million deal.

Its companies are involved in various industrial segments including pharmaceuticals, steel construction, specialty chemicals and mining.


Saudi Arabian Mining Co. emerges as TASI’s 5th-best performer

Saudi Arabian Mining Co. emerges as TASI’s 5th-best performer
Updated 35 min 31 sec ago

Saudi Arabian Mining Co. emerges as TASI’s 5th-best performer

Saudi Arabian Mining Co. emerges as TASI’s 5th-best performer
  • Analysts expect Ma’aden to maintain its solid performance throughout 2022, owing to its expansion plans

RIYADH: Saudi Arabian Mining Co., known as Ma’aden, ranked fifth among the top share price gainers this year on the Saudi stock index TASI buoyed by strong results and a thriving mineral sector.

Ma’aden’s share price in 2022 opened at SR39.25 ($10.5) and climbed to SR59 on Aug. 4, surging 53 percent.

A booming mineral industry fueled this rise in Saudi Arabia as, in recent years, the Kingdom has shifted its focus toward discovering and extracting minerals and metals to support its mining industry.

“There is over $3-trillion worth of minerals to be exploited in the Kingdom, which opens huge opportunities for minerals companies,” said Peter Leon, a partner in Johannesburg-based law firm Herbert Smith Freehills.

Leon advised the Kingdom’s Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources on drafting its new mining law.

Khalid Almudaifer, vice minister of MIMR, told Arab News that the ministry had established the mining sector’s infrastructure, allowing the Kingdom to leapfrog in both mining and sustainable mining.

FASTFACTS

• The company’s share price in 2022 opened at SR39.25 ($10.5) and climbed to SR59 on Aug. 4, surging 53 percent.

• Ma’aden reported a 185 percent surge in profit during the first quarter of 2022, hitting SR2.17 billion.

• The mining company has a market capitalization of over SR100 billion.

As the Kingdom revealed that it could be sitting on untapped mineral deposits worth $1.3 trillion, Almudaifer added that the $1.3 trillion estimate of untapped minerals is only a starting point and that underground minerals are likely worth even more.

In March, the state-owned firm announced its plans to increase production capacity and invest in exploration to tap into $1.3 trillion mineral reserves, a reason economist Ali Alhazmi believes that made Ma’aden shares lucrative, further leading to high performance.

Speaking to Arab News, Alhazmi explained that one of the reasons could be attributed to Ma’aden turning into probability last year, reaching SR5.2 billion, compared to SR280 million in losses in 2020.

The other reason could relate to its plan to double its capital by distributing three shares to shareholders, which has attracted investors to buy Ma’aden shares.

According to Abdullah AlRebdi, CEO of Rassanah Capital, the beginning of the third line of its ammonia production also helped the company’s fortune, especially when there was a considerable shortage of raw material for fertilizer. It is worth mentioning that the ammonia plant expansion is set to add over 1 million tons of ammonia production to reach 3.3 million tons, making Ma’aden one of the largest ammonia producers east of the Suez Canal.

Ma’aden reported a 185 percent surge in profit during the first quarter of 2022, hitting SR2.17 billion, amid a jump in commodity prices.

Analysts expect Ma’aden to maintain its solid performance throughout 2022, owing to its expansion plans and gold mining projects in Mansoura and Masarrah.

“By the end of 2022, Ma’aden will achieve SR9 billion in profit, a growth of 50 percent from 2021,” Alhazmi predicted.

As one of the fastest-growing mining companies worldwide, Ma’aden has a market capitalization of over SR100 billion and is one of the Kingdom’s 10 most prominent players.


Oil up, rebounds on renewed gasoline demand, weak dollar

Oil up, rebounds on renewed gasoline demand, weak dollar
Updated 10 August 2022

Oil up, rebounds on renewed gasoline demand, weak dollar

Oil up, rebounds on renewed gasoline demand, weak dollar
  • US crude inventories up more than 5 million barrels
  • Transneft restarts oil flows via Druzhba

NEW YORK: Oil prices rose on Wednesday, rebounding from losses early in the session on lift from encouraging figures on US gasoline demand and as a lower-than-expected US inflation figure drove investors into riskier assets.

Brent crude futures rose 68 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $96.99 a barrel as of 12:46 p.m. EST (1746 GMT). US West Texas Intermediate crude futures gained 83 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $91.33.

US stocks

US crude oil stocks rose by 5.5 million barrels in the most recent week, the US Energy Information Administration said, more than the expected increase of 73,000 barrels. However, US gasoline stocks fell sharply as implied demand rose after weeks of lackluster activity during what is supposed to be peak summer driving season.

“Everyone has been very much focused on potential demand destruction, so seeing implied demand showing an outsized rebound for last week has probably given some comfort to those really concerned about that,” said Matt Smith, lead oil analyst, Americas, for Kpler.

Gasoline product supplied rose in the most recent week to 9.1 million bpd, though that figure still shows demand down 6 percent over the past four weeks compared with the year-ago period.

US oil refiners and pipeline operators expect strong energy consumption for the second half of 2022, a Reuters review of company earnings calls showed.

US consumer prices were unchanged in July due to a sharp drop in the cost of gasoline, delivering the first notable sign of relief for Americans who have watched inflation climb over the past two years.

That contributed to a rise in risk assets including equities, while the US dollar fell more than 1 percent against a basket of currencies. With most worldwide oil sales transacted in dollars, a weakening greenback is supportive for oil. However, crude's gains were modest.

Druzhba pipeline

The market earlier slipped as flows on the Russia-to-Europe Druzhba pipeline resumed, alleviating fears of another squeeze on world energy supply by Moscow.

Russian state oil pipeline monopoly Transneft restarted oil flows via the southern leg of the Druzhba oil pipeline, RIA news agency said.

Ukraine had suspended Russian oil pipeline flows to parts of central Europe since early this month because Western sanctions prevented it from receiving transit fees from Moscow, Transneft said on Tuesday.


Insilico raises $35m in Series-D round led by Aramco-backed Prosperity7 Ventures

Insilico raises $35m in Series-D round led by Aramco-backed Prosperity7 Ventures
Updated 10 August 2022

Insilico raises $35m in Series-D round led by Aramco-backed Prosperity7 Ventures

Insilico raises $35m in Series-D round led by Aramco-backed Prosperity7 Ventures

RIYADH: US-based Insilico Medicine has raised an additional $35 million in a Series D funding round led by Aramco-backed Prosperity7 Ventures.

According to FierceBiotech, with this new round the total Series D financing has reached $95 million.

The funds will allow the company to expand its artificial intelligence platform into other areas such as sustainable chemistry, green energy and agriculture.

The financing brought in Prosperity7 Ventures as a new investor.