The list of allegations against Ghosn isn’t only restricted to Japan; but Japan is clearly the outlier in terms of how it metes out justice. In the U.S., the Securities and Exchange Commission reached a financial settlement with Ghosn and Nissan over claims it had failed to disclose more than $140 million in pay to the ex-boss; Ghosn didn’t admit or deny wrongdoing. And in France, a series of investigations into the possible misuse of Renault’s money to host lavish parties and pay consulting fees are at a preliminary stage.Political expediency seems to have won out. While Ghosn was behind bars and under house arrest, the French government’s priorities seemed to swing toward protecting the Renault-Nissan alliance and keeping the Japanese on-side. The fact that President Emmanuel Macron was facing violent street protests at home last year also made it rather easy for politicians to distance themselves from a wealthy tycoon whose favorite party spot was Versailles. French officials are “in a bind,” as my Bloomberg News colleagues wrote. As for “consular support,” the most high-profile French visitor Ghosn seems to have secured is former President Nicolas Sarkozy, who had a pretty dismal relationship with the auto executive when he was in the Elysee Palace. “The Elysee’s silence is deafening,” Ghosn’s wife Carole said in October.Ghosn’s press conference will probably be embarrassing for Japan and potentially damaging to anyone who may be exposed to reprisals, such as his former lieutenant Greg Kelly — still facing charges in Tokyo over his own alleged role in Ghosn’s alleged misconduct — and those accused of helping Ghosn escape. But it will also make uncomfortable viewing in France. While Macron and his ministers are probably relieved that the world’s most famous fugitive businessman is sitting 4,000 kilometers (2,486 miles) away from Paris, they’ll be hoping he stays put.
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Lionel Laurent is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Brussels. He previously worked at Reuters and Forbes.
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