Nov 25, 2018

Carlos Ghosn remains jailed in Japan

Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

Carlos Ghosn is in jail, and he's likely to be there for a while. Up until last week, Ghosn was the unquestioned leader of the largest carmaker in the world, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, which sold 5.5 million cars in the first 6 months of 2018. The group has also sold more than 500,000 electric cars, which is twice as many as Tesla.

The big picture: The success of the Alliance is in large part due to the hard-charging Ghosn. But Ghosn's sheer force of personality cuts both ways. It can get things done, especially in countries like France and Japan where change is particularly difficult. It also pisses people off, including a Japanese whistleblower at Nissan. The result: Ghosn being arrested while aboard his private jet in Tokyo.

  • The stated reason for Ghosn's arrest was underreporting $44 million of income to the Japanese authorities. He also reportedly spent $18 million of corporate money on personal homes, including a house in Beirut, where the company has no operations.
  • Even at the highest levels, there were tensions within the alliance. Ghosn was planning a full-scale merger of Renault and Nissan before his arrest, which the Nissan board opposed. That board wasted no time in firing him from his position as chairman, even as the Renault board was more supportive.

Be smart: People as wealthy as Ghosn often begin to believe that the rules no longer apply to them. At least until they're arrested.

The Ghosn scandal is far from the only tale of business turpitude in Japan. A different whistleblower has helped to initiate a DOJ investigation of Olympus, which seems to have had difficulty changing its corporate culture after a $1.7 billion accounting scandal in 2011. And Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group is being investigated by U.S. prosecutors over money laundering connected to North Korea.

Why it matters: Increasingly, corporate malfeasance takes place internationally. Companies and their executives are being held accountable in dozens of jurisdictions around the world. Investigations can and do turn up in unexpected places.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll hits 3,900

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. death toll from the novel coronavirus has just hit 3,900, per Johns Hopkins data.

Details: Tuesday night's grim milestone came hours after President Trump said it's "going to be a very painful two weeks," with projections indicating the novel coronavirus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans — even with strict social distancing guidelines in place. "They are going to be facing a war zone," he said of medical workers.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 min ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: UN warns of recession with "no parallel" to recent past

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus pandemic is the "greatest test" the world has faced together since the formation of the United Nations just after the Second World War ended in 1945, UN chief António Guterres said Tuesday.

The big picture: COVID-19 cases surged past 858,000 and the death toll exceeded 42,000 Tuesday night, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy reported more than 12,000 deaths.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 6 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 857,957 — Total deaths: 42,139 — Total recoveries: 178,091.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 188,547 — Total deaths: 3,899 — Total recoveries: 7,068.
  3. Business updates: Should you pay your rent or mortgage during the coronavirus pandemic? Find out if you are protected under the CARES Act.
  4. Public health updates: More than 400 long-term care facilities across the U.S. report patients with coronavirus — Older adults and people with underlying health conditions are more at risk, new data shows.
  5. Federal government latest: President Trump said the next two weeks would be "very painful," with projections indicating the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans.
  6. Coronavirus in custody: Inmates in all U.S. federal prisons are set to enter a 14-day quarantine on April 1. A federal judge on Tuesday ordered U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release 10 detained immigrants who are at risk of contracting COVID-19 while in confinement.
  7. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Captain of nuclear aircraft carrier docked in Guam pleaded with the U.S. Navy for more resources after more than 100 members of his crew tested positive.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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