Ghosn family believes arrest was to prevent Nissan-Renault merger

Amy Chozick, writing for the New York Times:

She [Caroline Ghosn] and her sister Maya Ghosn, 26, do not have direct knowledge of their father’s business discussions, but both said watching Mr. Saikawa address the national news media had cemented their belief that internal company dynamics were at play.

“Wow,” Caroline Ghosn said. “He didn’t even waste a breath. He didn’t even try to cover up the fact that the merger had something to do with this.”

Maya Ghosn, who works in philanthropy, agreed. As Mr. Saikawa was “talking about the alliance, it was clear to me that there was way more associated with it,” she said. “My gut reaction was that this was bigger than the accusations against my dad.”

Nicholas Maxfield, a company spokesman, said: “These claims are baseless. The family would never have had any reason to be privy to discussions related to the future of Nissan and the alliance.”

“The cause of this chain of events is the misconduct led by Ghosn and Kelly,” Mr. Maxfield said. “During the company’s internal investigation into this misconduct, the prosecutor’s office began its own investigation and took action.” (Asked specifically whether a merger had been discussed, Mr. Maxfield said a previously announced six-year plan had called for “additional synergies and further convergence among the member companies.”)

Mr. Ghosn has remained in a small jail cell without the opportunity for bail since his arrest.

It will be a long while before the truth is finally revealed, but what a soap opera this is becoming for Nissan, Renault and the wider automotive industry. I don’t know much about the Japanese legal system, but locking Ghosn up without bail appears to be a heavy handed tactic for someone who hasn’t committed any physical crimes.