On March 26, 2019, as a dramatic turn of events, the Financial Times revealed that Hiroto Saikawa was aware of the deferred compensation for Carlos Ghosn retirement.
Nissan’s Chief Executive Officer, however, had been arguing the opposite since the press conference on the evening of Carlos Ghosn’s arrest. He had been telling the world that Carlos Ghosn had conspired with Greg Kelly’s help behind everyone’s back at Nissan.
The documents disclosed by the British newspaper show, on the other hand, that Mr Saikawa had been aware of the situation since 2012.
Mr. Saikawa’s knowledge on the matter is based on two main elements. The first relates to the counts in Japan for non-disclosure of deferred compensation. Hiroto Saikawa, Nissan’s Chief Executive Officer, approved, as early as 2010, the future payment of compensation for when Carlos Ghosn would retire.
The second element concerns a matter that will not be brought to the Japanese courts, but which may help to restore, modestly, Carlos Ghosn’s reputation. Indeed, the documents show that Carlos Ghosn’s use of corporate housing in Rio, Paris and Beirut was also approved by Nissan.
Carlos Ghosn has always proclaimed his innocence and denounced the betrayal of certain people within Nissan. He asserted that it was a conspiracy to take him down and prevent him from further integrating the Alliance.
The very next day, Nissan was working on a new charge against him. The committee carrying out the internal Nissan investigation detailed, at a press conference, some elements of its report raising more suspicions about Carlos Ghosn. For example, the former chairman appeared to have wielded too much power within the manufacturer. Or that he used the company’s money for personal use.
However, these vague suspicions will not be taken up by the Japanese justice system and have nothing to do with the charges already filed.
They seem to appear as a cover-up to distract from the Financial Times’ revelations about Hiroto Saikawa, the manufacturer’s CEO.