December 19, 2018 / 10:14 AM / a month ago

Nissan, Renault bosses met one-on-one in Amsterdam, Nissan says

YOKOHAMA (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co (7201.T) CEO Hiroto Saikawa held a one-on-one meeting with the acting boss of automaker partner Renault (RENA.PA) in Amsterdam this week that led to “positive” and “productive” talks, the Japanese automaker said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO - Nissan President and Chief Executive Officer Hiroto Saikawa reacts during a news conference after Japanese media reported that Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn will be arrested on suspicion of under-reporting his salary, at the company headquarters in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan November 19, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Tensions have risen between Nissan and Renault since the arrest of top executive Carlos Ghosn in Japan over allegations he understated his salary at Nissan where he was promptly sacked as chairman while Renault has kept him on as chairman and CEO. Ghosn denies the allegations, his Japanese lawyer has told other media.

Saikawa had characterized the meetings with Thierry Bollore as “positive” and “productive”, Nissan said in a statement, while declining to disclose the nature of the discussion.

It added that Saikawa remained ready to directly share with Renault the details of its internal investigation into Ghosn’s alleged wrongdoing at any time.

Earlier this week, Saikawa said he would like to share the investigation details with Renault executives. Sources familiar with the matter say Nissan has briefed Renault lawyers on its findings relating to Ghosn’s alleged misconduct, although Renault directors have yet to be given access to the full information.

The scandal has shaken the partnership between Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi Motors Corp (7211.T), with Saikawa calling for changes to weaken Renault’s control over Nissan.

Nissan has shunned demands from Renault to hold a shareholder meeting which would enable the French automaker to weigh in on Nissan’s selection of Ghosn’s replacement and other executive positions.

Renault owns 43.4 percent of Nissan, which holds a 15 percent stake in its French parent but has no voting rights. Nissan owns 34 percent of Mitsubishi.

Ghosn was charged in Japan last week alongside Nissan board member Greg Kelly and Nissan itself over their failure to declare $43 million in deferred income.

Ghosn and Kelly remain in custody and have had limited opportunity to respond to the allegations or defend themselves publicly.

Reporting by Maki Shiraki and Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Jason Neely and Muralikumar Anantharaman

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