Renault and Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn, who helped engineer Renault’s return to Formula 1 as a full constructor in 2016, has been arrested for alleged violations of Japanese financial laws.
Nissan said on Monday that Ghosn will be removed after what it described as “serious acts of misconduct”, including under-reporting his compensation to the Tokyo Stock Exchange and misuse of company assets and expenses.
The move comes after Nissan conducted a months-long internal investigation triggered by a report from a whistleblower relating to misconduct by Ghosn and another executive, Representative Director Greg Kelly. Nissan shared its findings with public prosecutors, including evidence that Ghosn under-reported $40 million in compensation over five years. He and Kelly are expected to be removed from their positions in a board meeting on Thursday.
Brazilian-born and holding French citizenship, 64-year-old Ghosn was one of the highest-paid executives in Japan, and renowned across the automotive industry for rescuing Nissan from the brink of bankruptcy, just three years after overseeing a similar turnaround in fortunes for Renault, which he joined in 1996.
Renault withdrew from Formula 1 as a full works team in 2010 to become an engine supplier, but returned for 2016 after taking over Lotus.
“Renault had two options: to come back at 100 percent or leave,” Ghosn said at the time. “After a detailed study, I have decided that Renault will be in Formula 1, starting 2016. The final details supplied by F1’s main stakeholders gave us the confidence to accept this new challenge.”