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Nissan seeking 'more equal relationship' with Renault: Source

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TOKYO: Japan said it is ready to work for the stability of the Nissan-Renault global alliance following the stunning arrest of chairman Carlos Ghosn.

But a Nissan executive said the Japanese automaker is seeking ways to weaken the influence of its French partner.

The 19-year alliance, enlarged in 2016 to include Japan's Mitsubishi Motors, has been jolted by Monday's arrest of Mr Ghosn for alleged financial misconduct.

He personally shaped the alliance and had pledged to consolidate it with a deeper tie-up.

"We need to return to the original idea of a win-win relationship," a long-time Nissan executive told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

It should be "a more equal relationship than before".

A reduction of Renault's stake in Nissan - which recovered from near bankruptcy after Ghosn took its helm and has become more profitable than its French partner - should be one option under consideration, the Nissan executive said.

The French automaker owns 43.4 per cent of Nissan, which in turn holds a non-voting 15 per cent stake in Renault and 34 per cent of Mitsubishi Motors.

On Monday, Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa portrayed Nissan as a victim of Mr Ghosn's alleged misdeeds.

But Nissan itself faces scrutiny over the financial misconduct case, with the Asahi newspaper reporting yesterday that prosecutors are weighing bringing a case against Nissan.

Its board will decide today whether to remove Mr Ghosn as chairman.

Mr Ghosn's fate appears all but sealed after Mr Saikawa, launched a surprising broadside at his mentor, saying "too much authority" had been placed in his hands and lamenting the "dark side of the Ghosn era".

Mr Saikawa pointedly refused to offer the "apology bow" that usually accompanies corporate scandals in Japan and played down the role Mr Ghosn played in reviving the company's fortunes.

Kyodo News reported yesterday that the Tokyo District Court has decided Mr Ghosn and representative director Greg Kelly will be detained for another 10 days. - REUTERS, AFP

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