Nissan Shareholders Approve Dismissal Of Carlos Ghosn

Carlos Ghosn and wife Carole Ghosn

Nissan Motor Co. shareholders on Monday here approved the removal of detained former chairman Carlos Ghosn from its board, ending his almost two decades stint with the Japanese carmaker.

At the beginning of the general shareholders' meeting, Hiroto Saikawa, Nissan president and chief executive officer, told those in attendance, "We deeply apologize for causing you major anxieties and trouble".

After being freed on bail for nearly a month, Mr Ghosn was arrested again last week on fresh allegations that he used millions of dollars from Nissan for his own purposes and is set to be detained at least until April 14.

Saikawa and other Nissan Motor Co executives bowed deeply at the Tokyo hotel where the shareholders' meeting was being held.

Sources told Reuters this week that Renault had uncovered suspect payments to a Renault-Nissan business partner in Oman while Ghosn was CEO, which may be connected to the purchase of a luxury yacht worth millions of euros.

Also on the ballot agenda is the removal of Greg Kelly, a board member who is charged with collaborating with Ghosn in the alleged misconduct.

"It is really such a pity as he was a brilliant manager", Miyamoto said of Ghosn before heading into the meeting.

Ghosn has been charged with under-reporting his compensation in financial documents, and with breach of trust in having Nissan shoulder investment losses and making dubious payments to a Saudi businessman.

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Japanese prosecutors arrested Ghosn for a fourth time on Thursday on suspicion he had tried to enrich himself at the automaker's expense, in another dramatic twist that his lawyers said was an attempt to muzzle him.

Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa opened the meeting with a speech outlining the allegations against his former mentor, accusing him of misusing funds and seeking to hide his compensation. "I'm very suspicious of the situation, and most people are".

This detention period can be extended for 10 more days if the court allows, meaning Ghosn is unlikely to be released any time soon. Instead, a video statement will be shown on Tuesday, said Japan's Foreign Correspondent's Club.

The vote severs the company's ties with Mr Ghosn, who was credited with saving it from bankruptcy two decades ago.

"This is not an issue we can fix overnight". Ghosn also gave a combative interview to France's TF1 television channel before he was detained, where he denounced a Nissan "plot" against him and voiced fears he might not receive a fair trial. The decision to oust him came after his second arrest in Tokyo last week.

Ghosn's wife Carole Ghosn has left Japan for France, where she plans to appeal to the French government to help her husband.

Despite her Lebanese passport being confiscated by Japanese authorities, Carole said she was able to use her American passport to board a flight and was accompanied by the ambassador to the airport.

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