Renault demands Nissan shareholder meeting amid Carlos Ghosn crisis

Renault’s top executive has written a letter to Nissan urging a shareholder meeting, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing the arrest of Carlos Ghosn in Tokyo last month as a “significant risk” to the car makers’ partnership.

Ghosn was apprehended in November on suspicions of underreporting income and misusing company funds. The Journal obtained a letter dated Friday from Thierry Bollore, deputy CEO of French automaker Renault. In the letter, he pressed his counterpart, Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa, to call a shareholder meeting “as promptly as practicable.”

Renault owns at least 40 percent of Nissan, which is scheduled to have a board meeting on Monday, The Journal reported. The French company is said to want a discussion about Renault’s representation within Nissan’s top ranks, the report said.

Ghosh’s “indictment creates significant risks to Renault, as Nissan’s largest shareholder, and to the stability of our industrial alliance,” Bollore wrote in the letter, according to The Journal. “We believe a shareholder forum would be the best manner of addressing these matters in an open and transparent fashion.”

The arrest of auto industry titan was believed by some to be a palace coup designed to remove him from power at Japanese automaker Nissan, just one of the companies Ghosn had a hand in running. However, some analysts say Ghosn’s woes could also spell trouble for Saikawa.

Morningstar analyst Richard Hilgert told CNBC last week he thinks investor confidence in Nissan’s management has been compromised by both the Ghosn scandal, as well as other lingering problems.

Ghosn is considered the mastermind behind the alliance between French automaker Renault and Japanese manufacturers Nissan and Mitsubishi. Renault saved Nissan from the brink of bankruptcy in 1999, and took a 40 percent stake in the company.

Nissan did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

The Wall Street Journal’s complete story can be found on its website.

–CNBC’s Robert Ferris contributed to this article.

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