Tokyo: A Japanese court on Monday barred Carlos Ghosn from attending a Nissan board meeting, according to local media, as the bailed former chairman prepares his defence against charges of financial misconduct.
Nissan removed Ghosn as chief shortly after his shock arrest in November, but he cannot be officially removed from his seat on the board without an extraordinary shareholders' meeting -- expected to take place on April 8. Both public broadcaster NHK and the Nikkei business daily reported the decision but the court could not be immediately reached for confirmation.
The Japanese carmaker is holding a board meeting on Tuesday in Yokohama, near Tokyo. And Ghosn's lawyer Junichiro Hironaka said earlier on Monday that his client "had a duty" to attend the board meeting and wanted to do so -- if the court gave the green light. Ghosn was released on March 6 on bail of nearly $9 million.
Under the terms of his release, he is forbidden from contacting people who could be involved in his case, including Nissan executives likely to attend board meetings, such as CEO Hiroto Saikawa. Other conditions of Ghosn's bail include living in a residence monitored from outside by camera. He can only access a non-internet connected computer at his lawyer's office.
The former high-flying auto tycoon stepped out of a Tokyo detention centre after more than 100 days. He faces three charges of financial misconduct over allegations he under-reported his compensation and sought to transfer personal losses to Nissan's books.
At the height of his power, Ghosn ran a three-way car alliance between Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi Motors that outsold all rival groups.
But his arrest exposed rifts between the Japanese and French manufacturers and he claimed in an interview with AFP his detention was a "story of betrayal" as Nissan wanted to avoid closer integration with Renault. The two firms have since been at pains to present a united front and new Renault boss Jean-Dominique Senard will appear with Saikawa at a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday after the Nissan board meeting.
According to sources close to the Alliance, a new structure will be created to combine Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors. This structure will replace the current organisation that brings together Nissan and Renault, which is headquartered in Amsterdam.