Renault in talks over new alliance body with Nissan and Mitsubishi

Carlos Ghosn

At the height of his powers, Ghosn ran a three-way auto alliance between Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi Motors that outsold all rival groups.

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.

"The proposed arrangement will have no impact on the existence of the RAMA (Restated Alliance Master Agreement), and the cross-shareholding structure, which will both remain in place", added Renault.

He declined comment on whether Ghosn, who remains on Renault's board, will be allowed to attend its meetings even if he is able to leave Japan.

"We are fostering a new start of the alliance".

According to sources close to the Alliance, a new structure will be created to combine Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors.

Ghosn has said the claims of improper payments were a "distortion of reality".

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"Anyone who knows my father knows that is not true", they said, noting that the former Nissan chairman was awarded the Blue Ribbon Medal by Emperor Akihito, making him the first non-Japanese businessman to receive the accolade. The new board, consisting of those four executives, will meet every month in Paris or Tokyo and oversee various projects, helping to make the companies' operations more efficient, they said.

Doubts over the balance of power between Renault and Nissan had been growing after Ghosn's departure.

Although he was nearly immediately fired as the head of the company when the allegations surfaced, he is still a board member until April 8, when an extraordinary meeting of shareholders is likely to remove him. He had reportedly been eyeing a merger between Nissan and Renault under one holding company while respecting their independence.

In an interview with AFP in January from inside his Tokyo detention centre, Ghosn himself said his arrest it was a "story of betrayal" based on resentment in the Japanese carmaker.

Last week, Tokyo District Court approved bail for Ghosn, who had been held in detention since his November 19 arrest in Japan on charges of financial misconduct. Nissan opposed his attendance out of concern that the meeting would not run smoothly, he told reporters in an exchange that was aired on TV. He wished to attend the meeting, but the bail conditions require having the court's permission, so his attorney lodged the request on Friday.

He faces three charges of financial misconduct over allegations he under-reported his compensation and sought to transfer personal losses to Nissan's books.

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