The CEO and chairman of one of the world’s largest auto companies, under the watchful eye of a desperate police officer, used fake passports and private jets to pass through airport customs and fled overseas while on bail. It all sounds like a bridge from a Hollywood movie. But just recently, Carlos Ghosn, the former CEO of Nissan Motor Co., shocked the world with a live-action version of “The Redemption of Shawshank.”
Carlos Ghosn, former Nissan CEO, former Renault CEO and chairman, former Mitsubishi chairman, former AvtoVAZ (Russian auto company) chairman, and former CEO and chairman of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance. The 64-year-old, who once saved Nissan and built the world’s largest auto alliance group, went from comic “hero” to “cross-street mouse” overnight.
On November 19, 2018, Mr. Ghosn was arrested by Japan’s Special Search Department on charges of “under-reporting of his own remuneration” and “private use of public funds”. Nissan’s then-CEO, Yukio Nishikawa, announced Mr. Ghosn’s removal from the board at a news conference, saying it was the result of an internal Nissan investigation.
Mr. Ghosn called it a “conspiracy” and “political persecution” in Japan, and has repeatedly said that his human rights have been violated through various means, but he has been left alone to make no difference. Perhaps Ghosn thought that this would not prove his innocence, so that the Japanese authorities did not play. A while ago, Ghosn fled to Lebanon “unwittingly” and issued a statement on 31 December accusing Japan’s local judicial system of “disregarding fundamental human rights on the premise of guilt.” “
Hollywood blockbusters save Ghosn
Mr. Ghosn, who lived in a Tokyo mansion while on bail, had a large police and surveillance apparatus staring at his every move, and close surveillance seemed to leave him with no chance of escape.
One night during the Christmas holidays, he brought in a band for a New Year’s performance, and after a rigorous search and security check, the band entered The Ghosn Mansion, and probably no one noticed anything unusual, and no one doubted the true identity of the band members.
However, when the performance was over, the band quickly packed up the instrument box and quickly left, while Ghosn, who was 1.7 metres tall, hid it in one of the boxes.
Instead of choosing the heavily guarded Tokyo Airport, the “rescue team” headed directly to Osaka’s Kansai Airport, where the well-dressed Ghosn used a fake passport to trick customs officers into boarding a private jet and flying overnight to Istanbul, Turkey. He then boarded a Bombardier Challenger private jet again and arrived in the Lebanese capital Beirut on the evening of 30 December. Waiting for him was Ghosn’s wife and family, as well as friends and “homeland.”
Apparently it was a well-planned rescue plan, and there was speculation in the media that the organizer was Ghosn’s wife, but there were so many incredible places.
The timing was chosen during the Christmas holidays to ensure the relative relaxation of the police and surveillance teams, and to use the holiday season as a band member to make sure that a team of special forces crewmembers would play without suspicion; and then to take Mr Ghosn out of the box of musical instruments, to trick customs officers at remote airports; and to dress up as inadequate. Because all three of Ghosn’s passports (Brazil, France, Lebanon) are in the hands of his lawyers, they also need to be prepared to be disguised as fake passports. The whole plan every step needs to be carefully designed and prepared, every link can not be error-free, to ensure that nothing is lost, ring-link.
Moreover, in the context of the statement of 31 December from the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs that “Ghosn entered the country legally”, Ghosn chose to return to Lebanon, which had nothing to do with the Lebanese authorities.
Several Japanese media outlets first denounced Mr. Ghosn as “a cowardly act that is contempt until he flouts Japan’s judicial system” and argues that “Ghosn has lost the opportunity to prove his innocence”, noting that his defense lawyers and immigration officials are responsible. In any case, however, there are no extradition regulations between Lebanon and Japan at present, so it can be said that Mr Ghosn is now “free again”.
Ghosn’s “Great Escape” has left Japan’s judiciary and government agencies in the dark, a key economic suspect in the bail period, even under heavy surveillance, repeatedly broke through the police, customs and other checkpoints to flee overseas. Even after Ghosn’s announcement, Japan realized that Ghosn had long since fled the country. Japan’s legal authorities believe this will shake the immigration management system, will investigate how Ghosn went abroad.
The Tokyo District Attorney’s Office later issued a statement saying that Mr. Ghosn’s bail had been revoked and that Mr. Ghosn’s 1.5 billion yen (about 100 million yuan) bond would be confiscated. But what could be more important than freedom for the wealthy Ghosn?
His team of lawyers told the media: “We’ve been working on Ghosn’s acquittal, and now we really want to ask him why he did it.” “
So what is behind this dangerous act of Hollywood blockbusters that makes Mr. Ghosn think he has to take a risk and flee Japan?
108 days in Ghosn
On November 19, 2018, Ghosn had just attended the 100th anniversary of the French-Japanese Chamber of Commerce’s business summit, and after arriving at Tokyo Haneda Airport on a Nissan jet at 4:35 p.m., he was placed under the control of the tokyo Local Prosecutor’s Office’s special search department for allegedly making too little of his compensation and violating the Financial Goods Trading Act. Mr. Ghosn’s assistant, Greg Kelly, Nissan’s director and head of human resources, was arrested on the same day as he flew back to Japan from the United States.
Since then, Ghosn has been detained in a “prison” of just a few square metres in a Tokyo detention center, and under Japanese law, suspects can be detained for up to 23 days without criminal proceedings. However, on December 10th, Nissan provided numerous charges that allowed the detention to be extended for another 10 days without bail, while Nissan also took control of Ghosn’s property in Rio de Janeiro and Beirut. At this point, Ghosn’s family filed a lawsuit against the case, but it was not answered effectively.
On December 21st Nissan again provided additional allegations that allowed Mr. Ghosn, who could have been released on bail that day, to be held in prison again, but the material could not prove that Mr. Kelly was involved, so Mr. Kelly was released on December 25.
Mr. Ghosn, who made his first appearance since his arrest on January 8, 2019, pleaded not guilty and made a statement against the main charges, appealed against “denial of bail” and even offered to trade his shackles, handcuffs and Nissan stock as collateral for bail.
Ghosn’s sentence was supposed to end on January 11, but on the same day Ghosn was renewed for two new charges.
On January 14, 2019, Ghosn’s wife, Carole, wrote a letter to Human Rights Watch protesting her husband’s unfair treatment in detention. On January 21, however, the Tokyo District Court rejected Ghosn’s appeal. In the meantime, Renault and the French government have stood behind Mr. Ghosn, saying they would “maintain their trust in Mr. Ghosn until the charges are formally established.” But on January 24th Mr Ghosn agreed to step down as Renault’s chief executive and chairman, under internal and external pressure.
On March 6, Mr. Ghosn was granted bail of 1 billion yen (about 64.3 million yuan) by a Tokyo court, and Mr. Ghosn was kept free to stay in a house under 24-hour surveillance and even without internet access. Then, on April 3rd, Mr. Ghosn tweeted “I’m ready to tell the truth” on Twitter (32.05, 0.02, 0.06%) and decided that a meeting would be held on April 11. A day later, however, on 4 April, Mr Ghosn, who had not been released on bail for shortly after, was arrested again on new evidence and charges, the fourth time since November 19 that Mr Ghosn had been held in a “prison” of less than five square metres for 108 days.
On April 9th Mr Ghosn posted a video on Youtube, publicly saying that “all these allegations are biased, that they are innocent, and that they are using out-of-context methods to portray me as a greedy and dictator”. Eventually, after rejecting an appeal by Ghosn’s lawyers, the Japanese court granted Ghosn’s detention until April 22, after which Ghosn was released, but remained under extremely strict house arrest and was not even able to contact relatives.
Since then, Ghosn has also been under investigation from France, the United States and other relevant departments. Most interestingof of all, In September, Mr. Ghosn reached an agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission that Mr. Ghosn was fined $1 million for allegedly failing to disclose his extra pay, $15 million from Nissan, $100,000 for Mr. Kelly, and Mr. Ghosn’s 10-year ban on serving as a director and senior official of a public company. Kelly was banned for five years.
Until Ghosn staged the “Great Escape”, he was almost entirely placed under house arrest in his Tokyo mansion, and Because of the sheer volume of evidence involved, Ghosn was unable to receive a formal sentence. Mr Ghosn has always argued that his aggressive plans by The Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi have led to a series of outrageous allegations and “unfair treatment” that led to him being given the opportunity to tell the truth. In addition to his “high” personal income, the rest of the financial problems were unilaterally raised with doubt, and it was not conclusively certain that it was Gohn’s “public ity”.
At the press conference on the 19th, Nissan’s then-CEO Nishikawa Quang was still a slur when he listed Ghosn’s crimes, but when it came to Ghosn’s punishment, his words were quick and slow, and when it came to the question-and-answer phase, Mr. Nishikawa was already sweating in the face of reporters’ questions.
Ghosn was first arrested, in fact, the special search evidence is not sufficient, and the day after the arrest in the Office of The Inspector General, the Japanese court has not made any statements, Nissan press conference and almost all of the Japanese media to Gohn “guilty” argument. The media news, which had been a little “hateful” to Gohn’s Japanese people, was instantly filled with hatred for Ghosn.
All kinds of doubts, in fact, are pointing in the same direction – “Ghosn caused public anger.” Professor David Bailey, a researcher at Birmingham Business School, said in an interview: “Whether Mr Ghosn is guilty or not, his conspiracy theories have a high degree of credibility. “
Who the hell did Ghosn mess with?
At the end of the 20th century, Nissan, one of Japan’s top three car companies, was on the verge of bankruptcy.
Nissan lost money for seven consecutive years in 1999, with debt slots exceeding Y2, 000bn (rmb164bn) at one point, and in just two years, Nissan turned a profit in 2000, and it was Carlos Ghosn who was to blame.
In March 1999, Renault formed an alliance with Nissan, which paid Renault more than $5 billion for a 36.8 percent stake in Nissan, after which Ghosn held the position of vice president of Renault, serving as Nissan COO (June), Chairman (June 2000) and CEO (June 2001). In October 1999, Mr. Ghosn, who had just taken up the Nissan COO, announced the Nissan Revitalization Plan and pledged to turn a profit by the year 2000, surpassing 4.5 per cent by the end of 2002 and reducing its current debt by half. If the target is not met, Mr Ghosn promises to resign automatically.
Since then, Mr. Ghosn has employed about 21,000 people (14 percent of its total, closed five Japanese factories), reduced its suppliers from 1,300 to about 600, and sold industries not related to cars (real estate stocks, aerospace). The result was a 20 per cent reduction in procurement costs (Japanese car companies are more likely to use in-supplier purchases, resulting in poor bargaining power, resulting in higher component costs), a 20 per cent reduction in management and sales costs, and an increase in plant capacity utilization from 51 per cent to 74 per cent.
With the Japanese in pain, Mr Ghosn took just two years, with Nissan losing $6.4bn in 1999 and $2.7bn in 2000, helping to “re-emerge” a “dying” car company.
In 2001, Nissan, which emerged from the “dark” of its “scandal”, bought a 15 per cent stake in Renault, while Renault also raised its stake to 44 per cent, and the root cause of the trouble began here.
In the Renault-Nissan alliance, Renault holds about 44 per cent of Nissan’s voting shares, while Nissan owns only 15 per cent of Renault and does not have voting rights. While Mr Ghosn “saved” Nissan during his time in power, the initial “big move” caused many Japanese to complain (job cuts, supplier cuts, etc.), and that japanese-proud domestic companies had been held by foreigners, and that five of the nine board members were “Ghosns”, adding to the sense of “inequality”.
Long-term power has left Mr Ghosn in a near-dictatorship at the company, and the damage is growing.
In an interview with Fortune magazine, Mr. Ghosn completely upended the image of a former “listener”, saying that Renault had “wasted too much time on everything (concluded) and that “the boss must have 100% freedom of movement and be 100% responsible for his actions.” I will never tolerate any violation of this principle, and I will never accept any interference. “
The most serious of these are the success of Nissan’s “fast attack” in China and the decline of Renault, with the exception of the European market, where the Renault-Nissan alliance has accounted for more than half of Nissan’s sales, and the bankrupt Nissan, once rescued by Renault, is already the biggest profit contributor within the group.
Mr Ghosn had envisaged copying Nissan’s model to Renault, but it failed to materialise because the French government was the “state-owned enterprise” of Renault’s largest shareholder. In addition, he has transferred Nissan’s technology to Renault in various ways, and Mr Ghosn’s vision is to “completely merge” The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi into a large conglomerate that can achieve the ultimate “synergies”. “Whether car makers can survive the competition still depends on the size of them. Ghosn once said.
Something similar has caused a backlash within Nissan over Mr Ghosn.
Nissan’s idea of “seeking independence” has been around for a long time, and Mr Ghosn has been repressing Nissan’s voice, but Japan prefers the Japanese to dominate the company. The person involved revealed. At the same time, the public is worried about every employee working in Nissan, Mitsubishi, every day worried about whether they will be laid off, so the hostility towards Ghosn is growing.
In 2017, Mr. Ghosn handed over the CEO to Mr. Nishikawa to retain his chairmanship in an attempt to ease that sentiment. But as a result, it was Mr. Nishikawa who reported Mr. Ghosn’s “corruption”.
Several people familiar with the matter have revealed that Mr. Ghosn had planned a major shake-up of Nissan’s management, including the replacement of then-CEO Yukio Nishikawa, but the timing is unclear. Mr Ghosn wants to reshuffle management in part because he is unhappy with the performance under Mr Nishikawa. Nissan’s revenue fell 17% year-on-year in the first half of the fiscal year ended September 30, 2018.
During the period, Mr. Ghosn also sharply criticized Mr. Nishikawa’s mishandling of the “Nissan Quality Inspection Scandal” at the time, which severely affected Nissan’s earnings. The Financial Times has revealed a 2012 employment agreement for Nissan and bloomberg revelations that Mr Nishikawa even appeared to be “doing the job”.
Ironically, in September, Mr. Nishikawa resigned because he had been “improperly paid”, and the former “anti-corruption chief” now resigns because of “corruption”. And during Hisikawa’s tenure, not only did he further show a “discord” with Renault, but he also “disturbed” Renault’s merger with the FCA by pressuring him.
Ghosn’s contribution to Nissan is innumerable, whether it is the “big step” of the year, or early “desperate” to enter the electric car market, or the complementary advantages of multiple brands of the “combination of vertical”, or that year to the East Wind to investigate the “when the machine to break” clapboard into the Chinese market. His position in the automotive industry and Nissan’s history are a great presence.
But these facts have nothing to do with whether he is “corrupt”, but there are too many strange things in this matter that have to be questioned.
It has been the practice of the Special Search Department to remain in detention without pleading guilty. In the past, Mr. Suzuki, who had been detained by the House of Representatives for 437 days, pleaded not guilty, but the court found him guilty. Detained the director of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Muraki 164 days, Murakami pleaded not guilty, the prosecutor forged the relevant evidence, must take it down, good in the lawyer found out the cracks, Muraki is indeed innocent, and finally acquittal.
“I’m not trying to get out of the law, I’m just breaking free from injustice and political persecution,” Mr. Ghosn, who has fled to Lebanon, told the media. “
The truth of the matter is not yet known, but Ghosn staged this “Shawshank’s redemption”, so that the author is reminded of a person. The man made a huge contribution to the factory and saved the whole plant, but was eventually jailed for similar charges, but in the end he regained success and respect in a different way.
I don’t know where To go after Ghosn is freed.