A letter from Renault’s lawyers to their Japanese counterparts condemned the methods used for the internal investigation targeting Carlos Ghosn, as revealed in the Wall Street Journal on February 5, 2019.

This investigation is Nissan’s sole basis of accusation and is what led to the arrest of Carlos Ghosn. According to jurists, it did not use legal means.

The ten-page letter presents numerous accusations by Renault’s consulting firm (Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart & Sullivan) to their counterparts working for Nissan (Latham & Watkins).

The first charge raised by the jurists is Nissan’s failure to provide Renault with information. This concerns both the actual conduct of the investigation and its monitoring, during which Renault has been completely disregarded. A moral element contrary to the RAMA, the Alliance agreement.

Worse still, Renault does not tolerate Nissan’s behaviour towards its employees. The French lawyers are very disturbed by the fact that some Nissan employees have been acting as the armed wing of the Tokyo prosecutor’s office.

“Nissan has contacted Renault employees directly by phone or e-mail without seeking the authorization of Renault or its advisers. This is not compatible with the applicable standards and regulations in the United States, France and elsewhere. Nissan’s executives presented themselves as acting in coordination with the prosecutor’s office, thereby turning the company and its board into an extension of it. Nissan even offered to pay the travel and accommodation expenses in Tokyo for the employees involved.”

In this letter, the French jurists demonstrate that Nissan tried to circumvent French law by making their private investigation appear as an official one led by the prosecutor’s office. Besides, the most insistent acts towards Renault employees occurred as Carlos Ghosn’s police custody ended in December 2018.

Renault’s lawyers also point out that they were never informed of the verification of its senior executives’ compensation through the investigation led by Nissan (and therefore Latham & Watkins). This was done without Renault ever being notified.

Also, Hari Nada was again singled out for his role in the case, mainly for his prolonged involvement in all that concerns Carlos Ghosn.

Renault’s anger is mainly due to the apparent conflict of interests among Latham & Watkins. The interests of the American firm are unclear, since Nissan’s lawyers are working on many issues concerning its own Board of Directors.

And, as a conclusion:

“This is more of a political campaign than a neutral fact-gathering exercise”

To these accusations, Nissan have had a terse response from its spokesman:

“The communications in question do not reflect the current state of discussions with Renault and its lawyers. Nissan has always welcomed an open and direct dialogue with its partners to help uncover relevant facts.”

The real answer probably lies in the fact that on the day of these disclosures, Nissan announced the holding of its extraordinary general meeting, scheduled for April 8, 2019, with the main topic being the revocation of Carlos Ghosn’s mandate.