Japanese authorities on Wednesday extended the detention of Nissan's president, Carlos Gosn, for 10 days, when the automobile giant himself emerged, may face charges of alleged financial misconduct that hindered his former personal leader.
The incredible arrest of a millionaire tycoon Monday, whom he thanked for the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi Motors alliance, sent shocks to the global car, Japan and beyond.
On Wednesday, several media reported that the Tokyo District Court ordered the 64-year-old businessman from Brazil to be held for another 10 days while prosecutors stepped up the investigation into the alleged under-reporting of the Gon's package for about five billion yen of $ 44.5 million.
Prosecutors had 48 hours after his arrest or filed formal charges, released or requested to continue the investigation for a 10-day detention.
The Titan of the automotive industry is located in the detention center in northern Tokyo in conditions far beyond its incredible lifestyle. "In principle, he will be alone in a cell," lawyer Aiano Konesuka told AFP.
"There's everything you need, heating, bed, but the conditions are spartan," said Kanezuka's colleague, Lionel Vincent, who also said there would be a courtyard with bars.
The crisis seems to go badly to worse for Nissan, as Asahi Shimbun reports that prosecutors believe the firm also had a case to respond. Nissan and the authorities refused to comment.
– "Too much authority" –
The Nissan Board will decide on Thursday whether to remove him as president, an amazing twist of wealth for the once-respected manager who created a tripartite alliance that together sells more cars worldwide than any other car maker.
The fate of Gas seems to have been sealed after his deputy head, Hirot Saikawa, set a state of limbo in his mentor, saying "too much authority" was put in the hands and lamenting the "dark side of the time of the Gas".
Saikawa clearly declined to offer the deep "cunning bow" that usually accompanies corporate scandals in Japan and invalidates the role that Gon has personally played in reviving the company's wealth.
However, in France, Renault said it is clinging to the fallen manager as chief executive although he appoints chief operating officer Thiers Bollore as deputy executive, surrendering "the same powers" as "temporarily incompetent" Gasn.
After an urgent board meeting, Renault urged its sister company Nissan to share "evidence apparently collected" against Ghosn from a one-month internal inquiry, saying it can not comment on charges without this information.
Paris and Tokyo struggled to hide the fall from the arrest, while the two countries' finance ministers expressed strong support for "one of the biggest symbols of the Franco-Japanese industrial cooperation."
The scandal – the latest in a row to affect Japan Inc. – wiped out the millionth of the value of the shares of all three companies, but Nissan retreated back to open the trade exchange in Tokyo, climbing nearly half a percentage point to the fall in the market.
And Ghosn received street support in Tokyo, with passer-by Yoshiaki Watanabe telling the AFP: "I think this is someone who could do what the Japanese, stuck in our ways, could not do."
– "High ways of glorifying with glory" –
Gosnn was once a favorite of corporate and even popular Japan – even with the inspired manga-string – and was an adhesive that kept the automatic connection together since 1999.
He had a reputation as a workaholic and received the nickname "Le Cost Cutter" in France for his approach to rehabilitation and cutting.
Under his management, Nissan and Renault became deeply intertwined.
Renault owns 43 percent of Nissan, while in return the Japanese firm has 15 percent stake in Renault.
However, Nissan has become a key player in the Alliance, announcing sales of 12 trillion yen ($ 106 billion) last year, compared with 59 billion euros from Renault (67 billion dollars).
According to the Financial Times, Ghosn worked to merger the two carmakers who opposed Nissan, fearing that the Japanese company could be moved in a secondary role.
Jeff Kingston, director of Asian Studies at Temple University in Japan, told AFP that Gasn is "a victim of their own pride and success."
"He overcame Japan's cultural norms with his fantastic ways of celebrating, and his massive compensation spurred jealousy and invited revenge," he told AFP.
– "greedy" –
Local media reported that Nissan's representative, Greg Kelly, who was arrested along with Gosn, ordered other executives "to hide wages."
Some fees due to other executives reportedly ended up in Ghosn, although it is not clear how the scheme worked.
Public Broadcasting Service NHK reported that Nissan had paid "huge sums" to provide Ghosn with luxury homes in Rio de Janeiro, Beirut, Paris and Amsterdam "without any legitimate business reason."
Even when his reputation was high, he drew criticism for the bright way of life in conflict with the traditional Japanese corporate culture and his salary – around 13 million euros last year.
Media reports also talked about a lavish party on the theme of Marie Antoinette in 2016 for Gros's second wedding in the grandiose Palace of Versailles.
burs-ric / aph