(Reuters) - A former head of the U.S. Olympic Committee made "materially false statements" to a U.S. Senate subcommittee investigating sexual abuse in gymnastics, the panel said on Friday, and it said it would refer the matter to the FBI. [...]
Former Nissan chief was re-arrested for understating his income for another time period
TOKYO • Carlos Ghosn was indicted in Tokyo three weeks after his arrest for understating his pay at Nissan Motor Co Ltd, which will also face charges as Japanese prosecutors step up the investigation that has shaken the global car industry.
The former Nissan chairman was also re-arrested on allegations of understating his income for another time period, prosecutors said yesterday. That means he will be denied a chance to be released on bail for now.
In the first sign of blowback from the scandal for Nissan, the carmaker was indicted for breaching Japan’s financial instruments and exchange law by under-reporting Ghosn’s compensation.
The charges represent a victory of sorts for Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa, who has emerged as a driving force into the investigation into Ghosn’s alleged wrongdoing. Ghosn is in custody in Japan after his Nov 19 arrest on allegations of under-reporting of his income at Nissan, which has since ousted him as chairman.
A Nissan spokesman and lawyers for Ghosn declined to comment.
The charges are related to a relatively arcane point of accounting — whether retirement payments were properly booked. Ghosn has denied any rules were broken around deferred compensation, people with direct knowledge of the case have said. His defence is that the amount of such pay wasn’t certain, and therefore it was appropriate to omit it from securities filings, they said.
While he remains at the helm of Renault SA, Nissan’s partner in the world’s biggest auto alliance, he has been replaced on an interim basis. Tension within the Franco-Japanese partnership that has been held together by Ghosn for two decades has all but exploded into the open since his shock incarceration.
More on Ghosn
Ghosn was indicted for understating his salary by ¥4.8 billion (RM179.31 million) during the five years until March 2015, and the re-arrest is for suspected income understatements of ¥4.2 billion for the three years until March 2018, prosecutors said.
Former representative director Greg Kelly was also indicted for aiding Ghosn in understating his income. Nissan faces a fine of no more than ¥700 million.
Shares of Nissan declined 2.9% in Tokyo. They have lost 6% since Ghosn’s arrest.
Here’s how Ghosn’s legal process could play out:
Ghosn will remain in custody as prosecutors continue to investigate additional suspected crimes. A trial typically takes place about 40 to 50 days after indictment. Ghosn’s trial is likely to take place at the Tokyo District Court or a similar tribunal, where cases are argued in front of three judges. Should he want to, Ghosn is likely to be able to appeal the verdict twice, first to High Court and then Supreme Court. If convicted, Ghosn could face up to 10 years in prison, prosecutors have said.
Japan has one of the highest criminal conviction rates in the world, and prosecutors typically try to use interrogations to extract signed confessions from defendants. Fewer than 1% of cases in Japan’s district and county courts resulted in a not-guilty verdict or the defendant being released in 2017, according to prosecution data.
Nissan, which Ghosn helped resurrect by uniting it with Renault in an alliance almost two decades ago, conducted a months-long probe into Ghosn’s financial reporting and alleged misuse of company assets. The timing prompted some analysts to say the scandal may have been manufactured in order to block a merger that Ghosn was advocating between Nissan and Renault.
Saikawa and other Japanese executives within Nissan have spoken strongly against a merger. Saikawa, a former protege of Ghosn’s, is now potentially succeeding him as Nissan’s chairman after already taking over as CEO last year. Ghosn remains the chairman of the Amsterdam-based Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Motors Corp alliance.
Renault appeared to have been blindsided by Ghosn’s arrest and the allegations that have drifted out.
Executives are suspicious of Nissan’s motives, demanding to see proof from the Japanese carmaker of the accusations against Ghosn, people familiar with the matter have said. Nissan offered up a presentation summarising his alleged transgressions, but Renault declined, requesting the presence of lawyers and the full report on the allegations, the people said.
A spokesman for Renault said Nissan still hasn’t provided the evidence Renault’s board has asked for. Renault is aiming to reach in about a week the first conclusions of its internal probe into whether the pay packages of Ghosn, along with the French carmaker’s other top managers, were properly disclosed to shareholders, the people said.
Renault and Nissan have complicated cross-shareholdings, and poor relations would make operations difficult. The French carmaker is the largest shareholder in Nissan and has voting rights, while the Japanese company is the second-largest shareholder in Renault, with no votes. Nissan is keen to achieve a more equal power balance, but its demands have been stonewalled by Renault and the French state. — Bloomberg
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TOKYO: Nissan Motor Co’s auditor had repeatedly questioned transactions at the heart of allegations of financial misconduct by former chief Carlos Ghosn but Nissan said they were proper, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday. [...]
Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad speaks during a townhall meeting with Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) residents, November 23, 2018. ― Picture by Razak Ghazali
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 ― Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad said his ministry will set up a joint committee to review the controversial mega project development involving some part of Taman Rimba Kiara (TRK) sites.He said the planning to set up the committee had long been referred “to the top” for decision and he is still waiting for the result, stressing that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been briefed over the controversy.“The PM already knows about this and I have sent a letter to him on this issue which should be resolved as soon as possible,” he told reporters after attending the townhall meeting with Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) residents last night.Also present were Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh, Mayor of Kuala Lumpur Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan and TTDI Residents Association chairman Abdul Hafiz Abu Bakar.The meeting was attended by about 450 residents in the area.Khalid said, the government must resolve the issue as the project already approved and been through the agreement procedure in the previous government administration.“I hope the developers are willing to withdraw the project because otherwise this case will be brought to the court. If it is to be brought to the court, of course the financial implication is higher.“The cost of RM150 million may involve expenses, but if losses and various costs incurred by developers including defaults, the cost may be difficult for us to expect,” he added.Khalid also hoped that there would be company that wish to take over the developer's project, but it involves a lot of things including a solution to the construction of the longhouse.“As for now, [there is no company to take over]. Therefore, DBKL has to absorb all the costs,” he said, referring to the City Hall.The controversy over the TRK project has occured for the past two and a half years, causing TTDI residents to take legal action.The residents claimed that the development will take half of the public park site and destroy area with the most trees that has been the habitat for nearly 40 species of local birds and migration.In fact, the longhouse community residing next to TRK also pushed not to make them as the “scapegoat” in the project's construction plans, and demanding for their homes to be built on the original site without destroying the public park.However, on December 15 last year, the Kuala Lumpur High Court rejected the application of the TTDI residents and nearby condominium management to suspend the development orders in the area.The decision was made after the court took into account major expenses incurred by the developer, Memang Perkasa Sdn Bhd and Federal Territory Foundation as the respondents in the project.Meanwhile, Save TRK Working Group coordinator Leon Koai said the residents will absolutely continue to fight for the open space park.He said, the area is not set up to be the commercial development or high density development.“It is part of the original Bukit Kiara which was acquired for public purpose, it should never allowed to be developed.“So let's fix the wrong that were done in the past. It's not easy we understand that, but let's work on it together,” he added. [...]
Foliage partly covers a 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) billboard at the funds flagship Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur, July 3, 2015. — Reuters pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 — A US documentary on Malaysia’s 1MDB corruption scandal premiered at the 2018 DOC NYC festival yesterday.Like the Billion Dollar Whale book, however, The Kleptocrats puts added emphasis on the role of fugitive financier Low Taek Jho in the corruption scandal spanning at least 10 countries.It tracks Low’s movements as he crisscrosses the world between Malaysia and Hollywood, playing up his lavish lifestyle that led to his playboy image.Directors Sam Hobkinson and Havana Marking also included interviews with Malaysian personalities such as MP Tony Pua and Maria Chin Abdullah to help convey the damage the scandal wrought on Malaysia.The documentary is jointly produced by Rubber Ducky Productions and Roast Beef Productions.Since 2010, DOC NYC has been annual documentary festival held in New York City and is now the largest of its kind in the US. [...]
PETALING JAYA: Two Umno top guns have aired their opinion that Barisan Nasional's (BN) loss in the 14th General Election was due to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.
BN secretary-general Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz had reportedly echoed Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin's position on the matter.
"I agree with YB Khairy (Khairy Jamaluddin). The scandal happened and the Cabinet only knew about all the decisions after the issue exploded in the media," he was quoted as saying in The Star.
Khairy had earlier tweeted, "We lost because of 1MDB. The end."
The tweet referred to an attached news clip from an English-language daily in which former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak claimed that BN had lost the election due to "fraud, defamation and false promises made by Pakatan Harapan."
One of Najib's staunchest supporters, Datuk Lokman Noor Adam, retaliated in a series of tweets, with one aimed squarely at Khairy.
"With this kind of finger pointing attitude, don't ever dream that you can ever become the President of Umno," the Supreme Council member said.
Through Twitter, Khairy retorted, "You better pray I don't become President of Umno. First thing I'll do is sack you for having the IQ of a carrot." [...]
COPENHAGEN • Danske Bank A/S said it will be able to absorb “large” fines as Denmark’s biggest bank awaits the outcome of criminal investigations into its role in one of Europe’s worst ever money laundering scandals.
The bank, which said yesterday it faces a “huge task” trying to restore trust with customers and investors, hasn’t yet set aside provisions for a potential penalty, arguing it’s still too early to predict how much it may be facing. Analysts have published estimates as high as about US$8 billion (RM33.44 billion), while the bank’s market value has slumped about US$16.5 billion this year.
Danske admitted in September that much of about US$230 billion that flowed through a tiny Estonian unit might need to be treated as suspicious in origin. Management is in an ongoing dialogue with authorities in the US, Denmark and Estonia in connection with criminal investigations into the case, the bank said yesterday.
The Copenhagen-based lender has already made a “donation” to society of 1.5 billion kroner (RM961.4 million) based on profits it made at the Tallinn-based unit at the heart of the scandal. It’s also been forced to add 10 billion kroner to its regulatory capital in connection with the case, prompting management to cancel this year’s share buyback programme.
But the bank used yesterday’s report to provide details of its campaign to talk to clients and investors, and of its compliance efforts to make its business impenetrable to those trying to commit financial crimes. Investors welcomed the update, and shares in Danske gained as much as 6.5% in Copenhagen, marking the bank’s best performance since February 2016.
At Jyske Bank, analyst Simon Hagbart Madsen said yesteray’s report offered “better insight” into the short-term effects of the laundering case on Danske’s business.
In an interview, interim CEO Jesper Nielsen said “we’ve been very prudent in terms of capital and can basically withstand large fines or sanctions”. He also said the financial impact of the scandal has been “limited so far”, and that the bank is doing what it can to fight the threat of a customer exodus.
The interim CEO also said the bank is investing “massively” to “combat financial crime”, in an interview with Bloomberg Television. Danske is taking a very different approach to capital management, as it awaits news of a potential fine. “We are more preoccupied with being seen as prudent in terms of capital these days than necessarily handing back capital to shareholders,” he said.
Nielsen became CEO in October, when Danske removed Thomas Borgen for his role in the laundering scandal.
Nielsen has ruled himself out as a candidate for the job in the long term. Danske tried to win regulatory approval for its head of wealth management, Jacob Aarup-Andersen, to become CEO, but failed. It didn’t provide any further updates yesterday.
According to the bank’s updated factbook, it lost about 8,000 customers in Denmark last quarter, as Danes learned the full scope of the laundering scandal.
Per Hansen, an investment economist at Nordnet, said “one could have feared a bigger exodus”. But he also notes that there’s an expectation that customer flight will continue in coming quarters, though it appears “Danske Bank will stand its course”.
Nielsen said Danske is working hard to “explain to the market” how much it’s done to avoid ever again being dragged into a similar scandal. That includes building up a staff of about 1,200 people to focus on compliance in the area, compared to roughly 300 in 2015, he said.
“It is important that people can feel that we are truly sorry and that we take this very seriously,” he said.
Danske reported profit that fell short of analyst expectations last quarter. Net income in the three months through September came in at 2.28 billion kroner, about 4% below consensus estimates. Nielsen said income “was affected by the uncertainty in the financial markets”.
The bank still expects to generate profit somewhere between 16 billion kroner and 17 billion kroner this year.
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MOSCOW — France’s players had barely finished celebrating their victory over Uruguay in the World Cup’s first quarterfinal when a convoy of black minivans and sedans screeched out of the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium. The passengers were in a hurry. They had about two hours — roughly the length of a soccer match — to make the 200-mile journey to Kazan for the day’s second game. [...]
LANGKAWI, Malaysia (June 20): Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak sat down with Reuters reporters for his first sit-down interview since his shock May 9... [...]
KUALA LUMPUR (May 27): Former prime minister and finance minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak must be held responsible and accountable for the 1Malaysia Development Bhd... [...]
STOCKHOLM, Jan 18 — Hennes & Mauritz AB is working overtime to try to fix the damage done to its reputation by an advertisement in which a black child sported a hoodie with the text “coolest monkey in the jungle.”
After a social media storm and anti-racist protests in South Africa targeting H&M, the Swedish fashion retailer said it “reached out, around the world, inside and outside H&M to get feedback,” according to a post on its Facebook page.
In an effort to ensure there’s no repeat, H&M has now appointed a global head of diversity and inclusiveness, it said. Annie Wu will be based at the company’s Stockholm headquarters. Her most recent role was as H&M’s global manager for employee relations.
“The recent incident was entirely unintentional, but it demonstrates so clearly how big our responsibility is as a global brand,” the company said on Facebook.
H&M was quick to apologise for the image and pulled the garments in question from its stores.
“We strongly believe that racism and bias in any shape or form, deliberate or accidental, are simply unacceptable,” H&M said earlier this week. “We stress that our wonderful store staff had nothing to do with our poorly judged product and image.” — Bloomberg [...]