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  • Carlos Ghosn was a businessman with a cult-like following.

  • Credited with single-handedly turning around the fortunes of several major companies,

  • he was showered with awards, flattering profiles and even appeared on a stamp.

  • But now, one of the world's most powerful executives is in the limelight, as a fugitive.

  • So who is Carlos Ghosn and how did we get here?

  • This story is turning into a global catch-me-if-you-can caper.

  • He claims he's the victim of a conspiracy to oust him.

  • This is just cruel and they're punishing us.

  • It was an unexpected surprise. I'm shocked and confused.

  • These allegations are untrue, and I should have never been arrested in the first place.

  • His dramatic cross-country escape has enthralled people around the world.

  • Ghosn gained business fame for creating what was essentially the world's largest automaker.

  • He held the Chairman and CEO position for a strategic alliance among three car companies

  • Renault, Mitsubishi and most famously, Nissan.

  • And now, more than a year after he was first arrested over alleged financial wrongdoing,

  • Ghosn has become a fugitive on Interpol's wanted list.

  • At 65 years old, Carlos Ghosn carried out an elaborate escape from his home in Japan

  • to Lebanon, reportedly with the help of a former American Green Beret.

  • This was no easy feat, especially considering that he was under 24-hour camera surveillance

  • and house arrest, with virtually no internet access.

  • Lebanese by heritage, Ghosn is a citizen of three different countries.

  • Brazil, where he was born.

  • Lebanon, where he grew up.

  • And France, where he was educated at some of the country's most prestigious schools.

  • He later credited that diverse background as the main reason why he was able to make

  • inroads in Japan's corporate culture, which has traditionally viewed foreigners with suspicion.

  • Following his schooling, Ghosn spent 18 years with tire-maker Michelin,

  • eventually working his way up to Michelin's chief executive of North American operations.

  • In 1996, he moved over to Renault, where he was put in charge of the automaker's

  • struggling South America division.

  • His dramatic restructuring of the branch, and its subsequent return to profitability,

  • earned him the nickname 'Le cost killer.'

  • Three years later, as Renault acquired stakes in Nissan,

  • Ghosn was sent to Tokyo for another rescue.

  • At the time, the Japanese carmaker was $35 billion in debt.

  • But once again Ghosn stepped in with dramatic measures,

  • closing factories and laying off 1 out of every 7 workers.

  • In just six years, Nissan passed Honda to become Japan's number two automaker.

  • Now CEO after reviving the near-bankrupt company, Ghosn had earned another nickname for himself,

  • 'Mr Fix-It.'

  • In 2005, he was appointed CEO of Renault, making him the first executive

  • to helm two Fortune 500 companies simultaneously.

  • And in 2016, Ghosn became Mitsubishi's chairman,

  • as the Japanese car manufacturer joined Renault and Nissan's notable alliance.

  • The additional salary made Ghosn one of the auto industry's best paid executives.

  • So what caused his downfall, turning him from one of the most powerful executives

  • in the auto industry to an international fugitive on Interpol's red list?

  • For that, we have to delve into what he's allegedly done wrong.

  • Carlos Ghosn's first arrest was at Haneda Airport in Tokyo on November 2018,

  • charged with underreporting his earnings by about $48 million between 2010 and 2015.

  • He was arrested alongside Nissan's former head of legal, Greg Kelly,

  • who is currently still in custody in Tokyo.

  • Ghosn's fall from grace happened swiftly

  • following allegations of excessive and improper spending.

  • One of those allegations was that he threw a series of lavish parties at the Palace of Versailles.

  • In 2014, he spent more than $800,000 on an event to commemorate the 15th anniversary

  • of the Renault-Nissan alliance, an event which coincidentally fell on his 60th birthday.

  • In 2016, he hosted his own wedding at the Palais, which is the subject of a further

  • investigation by anti-fraud police in France, who claim company funds

  • were inappropriately funnelled to the value of more than $53,000.

  • Nissan has said that Ghosn had purchased and renovated properties

  • in Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Amsterdam and Beirut using their funds.

  • They also say he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of company funds on family vacations

  • and even his children's tuitions at Stanford University.

  • Lavish pay and perks certainly aren't unheard of for a CEO.

  • But in Japan, where the median executive salary is nearly one-tenth of what it is in the U.S.,

  • it rubbed people the wrong way.

  • Ghosn's leadership, and its associated cost cuts and lay-offs,

  • were pretty much imposed on Nissan by Renault.

  • His pay and management decisions only added to the building of resentment.

  • Well, there must have been scepticism, resentment at the beginning, when you came in.

  • That's normal. I was expecting it.

  • I don't want people to judge me or to judge Nissan on words.

  • I want them to judge on facts, and on performance.

  • Shortly after his 2018 arrest, Ghosn's time at the helm of Nissan, Mitsubishi and Renault

  • came to an end.

  • After spending more than 100 days in detainment, he was granted bail in March 2019.

  • That release was short-lived.

  • He was re-arrested a month later as Japanese prosecutors brought fresh charges against him.

  • This time, they claimed he illegally misappropriated $5 million from Nissan

  • between July 2017 and July 2018.

  • Ghosn maintained throughout this that these allegations are all unfounded and

  • are part of a coup to remove him from power.

  • Conditions of his second bail arrangement included house arrest

  • and 24-hour camera surveillance.

  • It was Ghosn's next big move that captured the world's attention.

  • At the end of December, Ghosn managed to leave his Tokyo home and travel to Osaka.

  • There, he snuck onto a private jet to flee to Istanbul, Turkey

  • and then another to his final destination: Beirut, Lebanon.

  • Lebanon received a “red noticefrom Interpol, seeking Ghosn's location, arrest and extradition.

  • Ghosn, who faces up to 10 years in jail if found guilty,

  • has professed his innocence to the charges of financial misconduct.

  • However, Lebanon has no extradition treaty with Japan.

  • Japanese prosecutors have also issued a warrant for the arrest of Ghosn's wife, Carole,

  • who is in Lebanon with her husband, on the basis of false statements made to a Japanese court.

  • Unlike her husband, she could be subject to an extradition request, due to her American passport.

  • Ghosn is also facing possible sanctions following a potential violation of Lebanese law

  • by visiting Israel, a country with strenuous ties to Lebanon, in 2008.

  • He has since apologized for the trip.

  • On January 8th, Ghosn spoke to the media for the first time since his 2018 arrest.

  • He cited many reasons for his escape, including the amount of time he had already spent

  • in custody without a date for his trial.

  • I have looked forward to this every single day for more than 400 days

  • since I was brutally taken from my world as I knew it.

  • This was the most difficult decision of my life,

  • but let us not forget that I was facing a system

  • where the conviction rate is 99.4 per cent.

  • The former executive told reporters he is willing to face trial for his alleged

  • financial misconduct in the three countries where he is a citizen - Lebanon, Brazil or France.

  • A lot of people perceive this as I'm running from justice,

  • which is really the last thing I want to do.

  • If I had some reassurance that I would get a fair trial in Japan,

  • and if there was a possibility for my wife to join me in Japan, I would have stayed in Japan.

  • Because this is the place where I should have defended my name and my reputation.

  • The RenaultNissanMitsubishi Alliance is also at stake,

  • with the man who brought them together now out of the picture.

  • Nissan, Mitsubishi and Renault were some of the worst-performing car stocks of 2019,

  • declining 28, 24 and 23-percent respectively.

  • And as Ghosn mounts his defence, he has already cast a spotlight on Japan's judicial system

  • and the country's reputation with foreign investors.

  • What if you have to spend the rest of your life in Lebanon, though?

  • Are you ready for that?

  • Well, it's better than spending the rest of my life in Japan.

  • So, what's your thoughts on the Carlos Ghosn story?

  • Share with us your comments.

  • And for more content like this, do subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Carlos Ghosn was a businessman with a cult-like following.

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卡洛斯-戈恩是誰? CNBC解讀 (Who is Carlos Ghosn? | CNBC Explains)

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    Summer 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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