Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn no longer fit to lead Renault, says French finance minister

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France moved on Tuesday to oust Carlos Ghosn from the helm of Renault a day after his arrest in Japan on financial misconduct allegations, but sought to defend the carmaker's alliance with Nissan, which has been rocked by the scandal.
A screen showing a news programme featuring Carlos Ghosn in Tokyo, on Nov 20, 2018.

PARIS (Reuters, AFP) - Carlos Ghosn is no longer fit to lead Renault following his arrest in Japan, said French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Tuesday (Nov 20).

"Carlos Ghosn is no longer in a position capable of leading Renault," Le Maire told France Info radio.

Le Maire said that he had ordered an inquiry into Ghosn's tax affairs immediately after learning of his arrest in Japan but that it showed up "nothing in particular about his tax situation".

Ghosn's arrest on Monday in Japan for alleged financial misconduct sent shock waves through the auto industry and raised questions about the future of the sometimes fractious alliance of Nissan, Mitsubishi and Renault.

Nissan and Mitsubishi have already said they will propose removing him as chairman.

The board of Renault is to meet on Tuesday to discuss temporarily replacing chairman and chief executive Ghosn while he remains in detention in Japan over alleged financial misconduct at alliance partner Nissan, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The Renault board will meet later in the day, a company spokesman confirmed, declining to elaborate on the agenda.

Nissan said on Monday that an internal investigation had revealed that Ghosn engaged in wrongdoing including personal use of company money and under-reporting for years how much he was earning.

He was arrested and would be fired from Nissan's board this week, added Nissan.

The French state owns 15 per cent of Renault, which in turn holds a 43.4 per cent stake in Nissan.

Le Maire said he would contact his Japanese counterpart over the matter, and reiterated that France's priority was to ensure the stability of the Renault company.

Le Maire added that Renault's partnership with Nissan was in the interests of both France and Japan and of both companies.

He said he would meet the state's representatives at Renault to discuss the issue on Tuesday.

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