The French government on Tuesday asked automaker Renault to replace Nissan Motor Company’s Chairperson Carlos Ghosn, a day after he was arrested in Japan on charges of under-reporting his earnings, AFP reported. The government holds 15% stake in Renault, which is one of the Japanese firm’s partners.
Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire told France Info radio that he ordered an investigation into Ghosn’s tax payments soon after news of his arrest surfaced. However, “nothing in particular” cropped up during the inquiry, he added.
According to Japanese broadcaster NHK World, Ghosn – a French citizen of Lebanese descent who was born in Brazil – reported a compensation of 730 million yen for the 2017 fiscal year, much lower than the 1.1 billion yen he had reported the year before.
Nissan’s Chief Executive Officer Hiroto Saikawa had said on Monday that Ghosn’ arrest would not affect the relationship between his company, Renault and Mitsubishi Motors, with which Nissan shares a strategic partnership. Nissan and Mitsubishi have announced they will initiate proceedings to remove Ghosn from his post.
The Japanese automaker was close to bankruptcy in 1999 when Ghosn joined as its chief operating officer from Renault. He became the company’s chief executive officer in 2001 and helped turn around its fortunes. He retired from the post last year but remained the chief executive and chairperson of Renault.