In wake of Nissan scandal, France calls for ‘interim governance’ at Renault

James McAuleySimon DenyerNovember 20 at 9:12 AMPARIS — French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire called on Tuesday for an “interim governance” structure to be put in place at Renault while the financial dealings of auto executive Carlos Ghosn are investigated.Ghosn was arrested Monday in Japan, where he serves as the chairman of Nissan. The Japanese automaker announced that Ghosn would be dismissed because of “significant acts of misconduct” that allegedly included underreporting his own salary and using company assets for his personal benefit.Ghosn, a Brazilian-born French citizen of Lebanese descent, also serves as chairman of Mitsubishi Motors and chairman and chief executive of France’s Renault. The French government controls a 15 percent stake in that company, and the news from Japan seemed to catch Paris off guard.“Carlos Ghosn is no longer in a state to lead the group,” said Le Maire, speaking Tuesday morning on France Info television .But Le Maire added that he was calling for answers, not necessarily for Ghosn’s resignation. He said the government began examining Ghosn’s fiscal activities in France once the Nissan news broke in Japan, but that for now, “there is nothing special to report on the tax situation of Mr. Ghosn in France.”For the moment, Le Maire said, the French government would not be demanding Ghosn’s departure from Renault’s board because “we have no proof” of any financial wrongdoing in France.The board is slated to convene Tuesday evening in Paris to settle on a new interim governing structure.The news of Ghosn’s shock arrest sparked an even more defensive reaction in Lebanon, where his heritage is a source of some pride.Lebanese Foreign Minister Gibran Bassil said in a statement he has instructed the Lebanese ambassador in Tokyo to follow the case and ensure that Ghosn gets fair treatment, according to the Associated Press. Ghosn represents “a model of Lebanese success abroad, and the Lebanese Foreign Ministry will stand by him in his crisis to make sure he gets a fair trial,” Bassil said.In Japan, Ghosn’s sudden fall from grace dominated headlines, with details of the accusations against him leaking into the media.National broadcaster NHK said Nissan had paid “huge sums” to buy and maintain luxury residences for Ghosn in Beirut, Paris, Amsterdam and Rio de Janeiro that were not justified for legitimate business reasons.The purchases were not declared in stock market filings, while Ghosn was underpaying or not paying rent, NHK alleged, citing unidentified sources.The Nikkei newspaper, again citing anonymous sources, alleged that nearly $18 million had been funneled through a Dutch subsidiary of Nissan to purchase a condominium on Rio’s prestigious Copa Cabana strip and a luxury home in Beirut.NHK also alleged that Ghosn, who was in charge of paying Nissan’s top 13 executives, had secretly siphoned off some of that money for himself.    Public prosecutors have only confirmed that Ghosn, along with representative director Greg Kelly, was arrested for failing to declare around $44 million in Ghosn’s income on Nissan’s official securities reports submitted over five years starting from 2011. Nissan shares fell more than 5 percent in Tokyo trading Tuesday.“It’s extremely regrettable,” Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters. “We will watch developments closely.”Denyer reported from Yokohama, Japan. Read more:Nissan says chairman Carlos Ghosn has been arrested over alleged financial misconductNissan sees profit dip as sales fall, offsetting cost cutsTesla isn’t the only company creating cool electric vehicles anymoreToday’s coverage from Post correspondents around the worldLike Washington Post World on Facebook and stay updated on foreign newsCredit:Washington Post via: USAHintCall our Editor on 0209391902 or click here and inform us via Whatsapp.You could equally email your stories or articles to and we’ll surely put them online

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