In the same week in October, Thierry Bolloré and Hiroto Saikawa were removed from office by Renault and Nissan, respectively, the first, because he was too close to Carlos Ghosn and the second for financial impropriety.

However, in the space of just 15 days in late 2019, these two former car bosses made troubling revelations.

In an interview with the Financial Times, partially reported by Les Echos in France, Hiroto Saikawa confirmed that “forces” had been at work to bring down Carlos Ghosn. Without giving any names, he went on: “There were people inside Nissan who held deeply rooted conservative views that the company should go back to before it faced its financial crisis in the late 1990s.  These forces were unleashed when the Ghosn system fell.”

Meanwhile, at Renault, an internal memo, that former CEO Thierry Bolloré submitted to the Nissan Board of Directors three days before he was forced out, confirms Renault fears over Nissan’s lack of objectivity vis-à-vis Carlos Ghosn.

In the course of this 10-page letter, Thierry Bolloré described glaring shortcomings in governance at Nissan. He stated that Renault was never informed of the procedure and he revisited the unceremonious removal of Christina Murray and the role played by Hari Nada. A culture of opacity and suspicion appeared to be the norm at both Nissan and Renault.

« A ma grande surprise, aucun de ces problèmes n’a été signalé à mon attention par le management de Nissan ou par des organes de gouvernance, mais soit par des articles de presse, soit par des lanceurs d’alerte. »

Thierry Bolloré – CEO Renault

Other extracts published in the Wall Street Journal described Mr Bolloré’s request for a “genuinely independent” audit to shed light on what exactly Carlos Ghosn was being accused of. This request was never granted.

In spite of all this, Carlos Ghosn’s legal representatives reacted with plain language that substantiated even more clearly the request to have all charges dropped:

“The October 2019 memo from Thierry Bolloré, Renault’s then-CEO and Nissan Director, to the Nissan Board of Directors, reported in the media today, demonstrates that the Nissan investigation that led to Mr. Ghosn’s prosecution was hopelessly compromised by compliance violations, conflicts of interest and bias (on the part of Hari Nada and Latham & Watkins) and was designed to “get” Mr. Ghosn for the sole purpose of removing him from Nissan and the Alliance and preventing a merger. These new revelations undermine the prosecutors’ case and support Mr. Ghosn’s pending application to dismiss the charges against him.”