Renault Nissan Mitsubishi: The Caligula of modern carmaking.
The Frog government owns 15 per cent of Renault. Renault owns 43.5 per cent of Nissan. And Nissan owns 34 per cent of Bits-o-shitty.
And the glue that binds this tenuous three-way together is Alliance boss, 64 year old automotive impresario Carlos Ghosen.
The Luke Skywalker of automotive alliances. The shitbox whisperer.
Unfortunately, it seems Mr Ghosn has departed to the Dark Side of the Force, having been caught with his fingers in the till, allegedly.
The grim news broke this week, off the back of a protracted internal investigation by Nissan bigwigs, following a whistleblower dumping Mr Ghosn in it a few months back.
Big G has been arrested in Tokyo, turning himself in to Jap prosecutors following what Nissan described as (quote) “significant acts of misconduct”.
It appears that Big G and another board member, Greg Kelly, have allegedly been under-reporting Big G’s income to the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
This is generally frowned upon. It’s a breach of listed company etiquette, and a crime, inconveniently, if true.
They’ve come in about five billion Yen low on remuneration - that’s about $44 million US dollars or about 61 million Shitsvillian micro-pesos. It’s a serious fudge of the books, if true.
So basically, what they’re alleging is that Big G actually took home about 10 billion Yen in payment, but only reported about half of that, over several years.
The maximum penalty for this kind of financial misrepresentation in the land of the rising sun is 10 years in the big house with the Nipponese equivalent of Bubba.
Nissan also said it uncovered (quote) “numerous other serious acts of misconduct” including alleged personal use of company assets and misuse of the company budget.
All three carmakers are poised to throw Mr Ghosn under the bus in coming days. They love doing that. And, of course, shares in all three companies have tanked, off the back of learning none of them could keep track of five billion yen on the balance sheet.
Nissan slumped more than five per cent, Mitsubishi dropped seven and (spectacularly enough) more than 13 per cent of Renault’s capitalisation evaporated across a couple of trading days earlier this week.
Big G - who is also fondly called ‘le Cost Killer’ after a slashfest that brought Nissan back from the brink of bankruptcy in the 1990s - is credited as being the wunderkind of shitbox manufacturer unification.
As such, Nissan rewarded him handsomely. He was provided with homes in Rio De Janeiro, Beirut, Paris and Amsterdam - and I get the feeling he never flew economy class between any of them.
In june this year, by a slim majority, Renault Shitbox shareholders voted to approve a 7.4 million Euro pay package for le Cost Killer (obviously he never took that knife zealously to himself). That was for fiscal 2017.
According to other securities filings, he also earned 735 million Yen for the top job at Nissan - maybe more, who knows? - and a lazy 227 million Yen from our lacklustre friends at Mitsubishi.
That’s a total of about 17 million US dollars, or about 24 million in our attractive but pretend plastic ‘Strayan money.
So my question to you is simple: For $24 million bucks (‘Strayan) a year, and four homes on four continents (probably not slums, either), why cook the friggin’ books?
Is your lifestyle tangibly better if you can up the ante under the table to - I dunno - $30 million a year? I’d suggest for $24 million you’d eat the best food, drink the best wine, wear the best clothes, travel wherever you want, receive the best medical care and take more than adequate care of your closest 50 relatives and friends.
Is it just because you can? And possibly because you have to be precisely that kind of cock to get to the top? I’d love to know what you think. So have at it, in the comments feed below.
Is it just absolute power corrupting absolutely?
Ghosn is 64 years old - so he’s got another 20 years left, if he’s fortunate, ballpark. Would you risk spending half of your remaining life in a Jap prison, being a de facto hot water bottle for a former sumo star, for 10 long Tokyo winters, in exchange for a few million extra dollars that won’t make any tangible difference to the quality of the rest of your life?