Carlos Ghosn flees Japan; GM, LG form battery joint venture in Ohio

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February 4, 2020

Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn rides in a Nissan autonomous vehicle in California. Following his 2018 arrest in Japan on allegations of financial misconduct, Ghosn fled to Lebanon on New Year’s Eve in an audio equipment packing crate.
Photo courtesy of Nissan

More than a year after his arrest for several alleged financial abuses at the automaker, former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn fled the island nation in a packing crate normally used for audio equipment, fleeing to his parents’ home country, Lebanon, at the end of December.

While out of jail on a $15 million bond in Japan (which he will forfeit), Ghosn was being monitored by local police, but officials say that amounted to occasional checks of video feeds. The Brazil-born, French-educated executive had surrendered several passports, so they didn’t consider him a flight risk.

In a press conference in Lebanon following his escape, Ghosn criticized the Japanese legal system, saying he had been under arrest for more than a year, and his lawyers told him a trial wouldn’t be likely until at least 2021. During that time, he couldn’t travel or speak to family members without supervision. Ghosn’s lawyers also warned him that defending against criminal convictions in Japan is rare – prosecutor success rates are close to 99%. Ghosn has long professed his innocence, saying he was the target of a conspiracy to break up Nissan’s alliance with French automaker Renault.

Nissan officials disagree, saying, “Nissan discovered numerous acts of misconduct by Ghosn through a robust, thorough internal investigation. The company determined that he was not fit to serve as an executive and removed him from all offices.”

Most of those allegations center on under-reporting his personal income and taking advantage of company assets for personal use. Interpol has issued an arrest warrant for Ghosn, but Lebanon has no extradition treaty with Japan, leaving his ability to stay there in the hands of diplomats. https://www.nissanusa.com

General Motors CEO Mary Barra (left) and LG Chem Vice Chairman and CEO Hak-Cheol Shin celebrate their companies’ agreement to build an Ohio battery plant.
Photo courtesy of General Motors

GM, LG Chem building $2.3 billion battery plant in Ohio

General Motors (GM) is partnering with Korean chemicals giant LG Chem to build a $2.3 billion plant for electric vehicle (EV) batteries in Lordstown, Ohio, near the automaker’s recently shuttered Chevy Cruze plant.

“Ohio and its highly capable workforce will play a key role in our journey toward a world with zero emissions,” says GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “Combining our manufacturing expertise with LG Chem’s leading battery-cell technology will help accelerate our pursuit of an all-electric future.”

The new battery plant will be a 50-50 joint venture between GM and LG, and construction is set to begin in mid-2020. The facility could employ as many as 1,000 people.

“Our joint venture with the No. 1 American automaker will further prepare us for the anticipated growth of the North American EV market, while giving us insights into the broader EV ecosystem,” says LG Chem Vice Chairman & CEO Hak-Cheol Shin.

https://www.gm.com; https://www.lgchem.com