Ghosn faces 10-year jail sentence if convicted of financial misconduct

Renault shares PLUNGE as chief Carlos Ghosn 'faces arrest in Japan'

Nissan said in a statement that it had uncovered.

The scandal has thrown into question Ghosn's future as leader of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, which sold 10.6 million cars previous year, more than any other manufacturer.

Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire told France Info radio that he had ordered an inquiry into Ghosn's tax affairs immediately after learning of his arrest in Japan but that it showed up "nothing in particular" about his tax situation in France.

The arrest of Nissan Motor chairman Carlos Ghosn on Monday stunned Japan and the wider business community, sending shares of Nissan and Renault plummeting.

Mr Ghosn officially still leads the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance as chief executive and chairman.

The board of Renault is to meet Tuesday to discuss his fate.

In fact, Nissan's investigation into alleged misconduct by Ghosn is expanding to include Renault-Nissan finances, sources told Reuters - in a further sign that Nissan may seek to loosen its French parent's hold on their global carmaking alliance.

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With few new developments, Japanese media were avidly detailing allegations against Ghosn.

"Renault has been weakened, which makes it all the more necessary to act quickly", he said. France's Emmanuel Macron said on Monday his country "will be extremely vigilant to the stability of the alliance and the group".

Following talks between Le Maire and his Japanese counterpart Hiroshige Seko, the two ministers issued a joint statement reaffirming support for the Renault-Nissan alliance and a "shared wish to maintain this winning co-operation".

Under Ghosn, the three carmakers formed an alliance that rivals Volkswagen (VKLAF) and Toyota (TM) in terms of vehicle sales. "It is hard not to conclude that there may be a gulf opening up between Renault and Nissan".

Nissan's shares fell 5% in Tokyo trading on Tuesday. The reality remains that shares of both Nissan and Renault tumbled on Monday.

Ghosn, 64, born in Brazil, schooled in France and of Lebanese heritage, is set to be ousted this week from his spot as Nissan chairman.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch cut its rating on Renault to "neutral" from "buy", while Exane BNP Paribas downgraded it to "neutral" from "outperform".

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The end of Ghosn's leadership poses questions and risks for an alliance he had pledged to consolidate with a deeper tie-up, before eventually stepping back from its operational leadership.

In Japan, where foreign executives are scarce and even the biggest corporate bigwigs tend to keep a low profile, Ghosn's status is more ambiguous.

According to Nissan and sources relevant to the case, the company learned about the misconduct by Ghosn and Kelly from a whistle-blower several months ago.

The financial reports also did not mention annual compensation of 100-150 million yen Ghosn received from the automaker's overseas subsidiaries, the newspaper said. The properties had no business goal and were not listed as benefits in filings to the Tokyo bourse, NHK said.

There has been no comment from Ghosn on the allegations, and Reuters could not contact him for comment.

The special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office on Monday arrested Ghosn and Greg Kelly, representative director of the Yokohama-headquartered automaker, on suspicion of violating the Financial Instruments and Exchange Law.

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