Ghosn charged over 11 million euros of 'questionable expenses'

Ex-Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn has been charged after car-maker Renault found 11 million euros of questionable expenses, the French government said today.

France holds a 15% stake in Renault and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told French television there would be a case against Ghosn by Renault over the expenses and the government would supply all the documents required.

The prospect of new legal action backed by France marks a new headache for the former Renault CEO, who was also Nissan chairman in the alliance with the Japanese car-maker, after his initial arrest in Tokyo in November.

Ghosn, who is a French citizen, was seen as a titan of the industry until his legal troubles hit.

Prosecutors in Japan have already indicted him with two charges involving financial crimes.

Carlos Ghosn
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Car merger: Not such a good fit

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4


Back to that "transformative" merger proposal by Fiat Chrysler for French carmaker Renault.

Nick Oliver, professor of management at Edinburgh University, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he was more sceptical about the "fit" between the two carmakers than the market, where their share prices had jumped yesterday.

"If you look at Renault and Fiat you've got two European brands that are not particularly strong - that's putting it mildly in Fiat's case. In the case Chrysler, they've got a strong presence in north America but they are by far the weakest... and they are terribly exposed to the SUV pick-up market in North America which is profitable in the good times but tend to tank in the bad times," he said.

And what about Renault's possible tie-up with Nissan? "I'm not sure I would describe Nissan and Renault's first love.. All the signs are that Nissan is treating this really cautiously and it's going to be hugely difficult to get Nissan to join the deal".

"Integrating car companies is really difficult," he said. Two weaker companies put together does not make them a stronger one.

Fresh profit warning from Nissan

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Nissan has warned that it will post its weakest annual profit in more than a decade, forecasting a 28% drop in earnings.

Japan's second-largest carmaker has struggled since the ousting of former Chairman Carlos Ghosn.

It said operating profit will now total 230bn yen ($2.10bn) in the year to March 2020, the weakest since 2009 when it reported a loss.

Last month it cut the profit forecast to 318bn yen ($2.8bn) from 450bn yen previously.

That comes on top of the company's announcement of a 45% drop in earnings for the year ended in March to 318bn yen.

Shares are down around 2% this year, after losing a fifth of their value last year.

Carlos Ghosn 'rang up $12m in suspicious expenses'

Carlos Ghosn
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Carlos Ghosn reportedly rang up millions of dollars in suspicious expenses, an audit from Renault and Nissan showed.

The Wall Street Journal reported the audit flagged €10.9m ($12.2m; £9.4m) in costs incurred by Mr Ghosn over a nine-year period that may have been personal expenses.

They included Cartier watches and a trip to Brazil. Through a spokesman Mr Ghosn, the former boss of Nissan who faces charges of financial misconduct in Japan, disputed the allegations.

Tokyo court grants $4.5m bail to former Nissan boss

Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn leaves his lawyers' offices after he was released earlier in the day from a detention centre after posting bail in Tokyo on March 6, 2019.
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A Tokyo court has granted former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn bail set at 500 million yen ($4.5m; £3.5m), paving the way for his release from custody.

He faces four charges in Japan over allegations of financial misconduct.

It will be the second time Mr Ghosn, who denies any wrongdoing, has been released on bail.

The 65-year-old was initially freed last month, then re-arrested on 4 April on a fresh charge.