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THE DEBATE

The fall of Carlos Ghosn: Japanese accuse Renault-Nissan boss of tax fraud

It's a fall from grace as brutal as is it is sudden. Carlos Ghosn, the all-powerful boss of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, was arrested on suspicion of tax fraud as he got off his private jet in Tokyo. The boss of the world's biggest auto alliance is due to be out of a job before the end of the week, leaving a sometimes uneasy partnership hanging in the balance.

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Ghosn had forged a unique role for himself as the invaluable conduit between the French and the Japanese ever since he came to the rescue nearly two decades ago of then-ailing Nissan. Now, the Japanese - owners of the UK's biggest car factory - seem to have the stronger hand in what promises to be a battle royale to save the alliance.

In presenting his excuses, Nissan's CEO vowed never again to let one single man wield so much power. Some here in French business circles wonder aloud if it's a boardroom coup that's brought about Ghosn's exposure to tax-dodging charges.

Meanwhile, France's labour unions ask about the charges at hand and remind everyone of a salary estimated at €12 million last year for the man who made a reputation as "le cost killer". Back in 2016, Ghosn faced a shareholders' revolt over his pay.

Is this a tragedy that's squarely of Ghosn's own making? If so, how should the French state - which owns a crucial 15 percent stake in Renault - react to the billions wiped out on the stock market by his alleged greed?

Produced by Daniel BARNEY, Laure FOURQUET and James VASINA

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