New holding company chairman named — Renault-Nissan Alliance

Renault cancels €30m payment to Carlos Ghosn as jailed boss hires new lawyer

"Renault has gathered sufficient evidence to understand and regret the methods used by Nissan and its lawyers to seek interviews with Renault employees through the Japanese public prosecutor's office", they said.

Carlos Ghosn was arrested on November 19, 2018, after touching down in Tokyo on Nissan's private jet.

Renault will scrap around 460,000 performance shares attributed to Ghosn since 2014-2015 and now worth 26 million euros, under proposals backed by the French government, its biggest shareholder, two people familiar with the matter said.

He replaced former prosecutor Motonari Otsuru with hot-shot lawyer Junichiro Hironaka, who has a history of taking on high-profile cases and enjoys an enviable acquittal rate in a country where nearly every trial results in a guilty verdict. Ghosn denies the deferred pay was illegal or required disclosure.

Mr Hironaka has won some high-profile cases, including the acquittal in 2012 of a senior politician, Ichiro Ozawa, who was charged with false accounting in a land deal.

"As we begin the trial phase, I have chose to engage Hironaka-sensei as my legal counsel", Ghosn said, using a honorific suffix.

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Otsuru is a former star Tokyo prosecutor. A second member of Ghosn's defense team, Masato Oshikubo, had quit, it said.

Ghosn, indicted for allegedly understating his income at Nissan by tens of millions of dollars, is awaiting a trial that could be months away.

Although he's resigned from his role as chairman and CEO at Nissan and Renault, Renault this week confirmed the currently-detained Ghosn is still a director on its board.

Ghosn thanked Otsuru and his team for their "tireless and diligent work and courage during the interrogation phase of my incarceration" and hailed his former counsel as a "very capable and intelligent man and lawyer".

Lawyers for the French company have questioned Nissan's commitment to the alliance, while Nissan has hit back with accusations that Renault has not fully cooperated with the investigation into Ghosn, the Financial Times reported.

He also pointedly declined to criticise Ghosn's detention conditions, despite some global concern about the repeated extension of the auto executive's pre-trial custody. Suspects often are re-arrested on suspicion of new charges to keep them in custody while prosecutors attempt to build a case, and bail is the exception more than the rule. In Ghosn's case, the judge at a January 8 hearing said his continued detention was due to flight risk and the danger of witness or evidence tampering.

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