Carlos Ghosn's daughters say financial misconduct accusations stem from Nissan revolt: Report

The daughters of ex-Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn, who was arrested last month for alleged financial misconduct, suspect the accusations against him were part of a revolt within Nissan to ensure a potential merger with Renault never came to fruition, the New York Times reported.

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His oldest daughter, Caroline Ghosn, said after seeing Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa speak about her father during a news conference that she believes Nissan’s investigation was based on “opposition to proposed changes to the Nissan-Renault alliance.”

“For Saikawa to so adamantly denounce someone who had been his mentor and then immediately without any benefit of the doubt condemns him?” Ghosn, 31, told the Times. “Wow. He didn’t even waste a breath. He didn’t even try to cover up the fact that the merger had something to do with this.”

Ghosn’s other daughter, 26-year-old Maya Ghosn, told the Times: “It was my gut reaction that this was bigger than the accusations against my dad.”

Neither daughter has direct knowledge of their father’s business discussions, according to the newspaper. The interviews were the first time the daughters have spoken publicly about their father since his arrest.

Nissan spokesman Nicolas Maxfield told the Times the claims were “baseless” and that the family would not be aware of discussions related to the future of the automaker and the alliance, which includes Renault and Mitsubishi.

“The cause of this chain of events is the misconduct led by Ghosn and [former Nissan executive Greg] Kelly,” Maxfield told the newspaper. “During the company’s internal investigation into this misconduct, the prosecutor’s office began its own investigation and took action.”

Ghosn, along with Kelly and the Japanese automaker itself were indicted earlier this month for alleged financial misconduct. According to the indictment, Ghosn and Kelly understated Ghosn’s compensation from 2011 to 2015 by about 5 billion yen ($44 million), compared to the actual amount of about 10 billion yen ($88 million). Ghosn was then rearrested on allegations he conspired with Kelly to underreport his income by about 4 billion yen ($36 million) between June 2016 and June 2018.

Ghosn, known for helping Nissan while it was on the brink of bankruptcy, has been detained in Japan since his arrest on Nov. 19. Despite his detention, he remains CEO of Renault.

Kelly was released on bail on Christmas Day.