The arrest of Carlos Ghosn, the builder of the automotive empire Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Motors, has caused a stir in Japan, France and the entire automotive world, where the consequences of the scandal were questioned. for the group.
The 64-year-old ruler, who was accused of concealing a large part of his comfortable income for the tax office, was still in police custody in a detention center in Tokyo on Tuesday, the day after his arrest at the exit of his private jet.
All Japanese newspapers on Tuesday called "the fall of a charismatic reformer" whose sudden shame raises many questions.
According to a statement by the prosecutor, "Ghosn" has conspired to minimize his compensation five times between June 2011 and June 2015 ".
The amount of 4.9 billion yen (approximately 37 million euros at the current price) was reported to the tax authorities, while Mr. Ghosn earned nearly 10 billion yen during that period, said the Prosecution.
The arrest of Franco-Libano-Brazilian is the culmination of an internal investigation of several months led by Nissan, who has passed on the information to the public prosecutor.
At a press conference on Monday night, Nissan Executive Chairman Hiroto Saikawa also mentioned "many other abuses, such as the use of corporate property for personal purposes."
According to the local media, a subsidiary of Nissan financed the purchase of luxury homes in four countries, properties in which Mr. Ghosn went free at will. In addition, according to the NHK's public channel, he allegedly packs the amounts claimed on behalf of other drivers.
– "A matter of money" –
Saikawa had very harsh words against his former mentor, who fell for concentrating too much power, in his words. "It is a problem that so much authority has been given to one person," he told the headquarters of the group in Yokohama, a suburb of Tokyo that condemned "the dark side of the Ghosn era".
From this Thursday, the Nissan Board of Directors decides on the resignation of its chairman. Mitsubishi Motors (MMC) announced a similar decision.
Shares of both groups fell Tuesday on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, with 5.45% being closed for Nissan and 6.84% for MMC.
After being put on a pedestal to save Nissan from bankruptcy by the end of the 2000s, and more recently Mitsubishi Motors, while forging a strong alliance with the French Renault group, Carlos Ghosn was thrown into the field on Tuesday.
"It's greedy, in the end it's all about money," said a Nissan officer in the daily Yomiuri. "He asked his subordinates to fulfill difficult goals, but he still received a high salary himself, even when Nissan's activities did not go as well," adds the newspaper.
At the headquarters of Nissan in Yokohama, a suburb of Tokyo, employees were astonished. "It was totally unexpected, I do not know what to think," said a 38-year-old employee of the company's paper company Nikkei. "It happens at the worst moment," he said, while Nissan was hit by two consecutive scandals caused by shortcomings in the Japanese vehicle inspection.
– Subtle balance –
On the side of the Japanese and French authorities, or the French President Emmanuel Macron or the Japanese minister of industry Hiroshige Seko, a single motto: "the stability of the alliance".
The spokesman for the Japanese government, Yoshihide Suga, considered "the situation very regrettable" while refusing other comments.
If Carlos Ghosn fails to recover from the scandal, will the alliance, the result of a fragile balance between three very different entities, survive?
The case comes at a time when the CEO of all 10 million cars worked to make the links "irreversible" between Renault and Nissan, Kentaro noted Harada, an analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities.
"We can not exclude that the alliance will be weakened." "This will change the balance of power (between the French and Japanese parties) is the main problem," he said.
The subject is very sensitive, while the French state owns 15% of the capital of the group in Losange.
The legal aspect of the case also raises "countless questions" according to the expert. "Why were the crimes only now discovered, and how would Mr. Ghosn, together with Greg Kelly (another Nissan officer in custody), have falsified in themselves false documents?" he wonders.