Carlos Ghosn Image Credit: AFP

PARIS. Carlos Ghosn may no longer be in the driver’s seat at Renault, but he will remain at the centre of vigorous negotiations in the coming weeks over severance pay potentially worth tens of millions of euros.

The French government, which owns 15 per cent of the carmaker and 22 per cent of voting rights, has already warned it doesn’t intend to let the former CEO walk away with the kind of lavish payouts that he is accustomed to.

“I can tell you we will be extremely vigilant, as the largest shareholder, over the exit conditions that will be set by the board,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told AFP at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland this week.

Ghosn had already raised hackles in France as one of its highest-paid business chiefs, and a huge payout for an executive sitting in a Tokyo jail wouldn’t go down well amid the “yellow vest” protests over declining living standards.

The 64-year-old Franco-Brazilian-Lebanese executive was arrested in November on charges of under-reporting tens of millions of dollars in income over eight years as head of Renault’s alliance partner Nissan.

He has denied that and other financial misconduct claims and his trial may still be months away.

He tendered his resignation at Renault this week, having already been sacked as chairman of Nissan and the third carmaker in the alliance, Mitsubishi.