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Nissan chair Carlos Ghosn arrested in financial misconduct probe

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Nissan Motor’s chair Carlos Ghosn has been arrested and will be dismissed for alleged under-reporting of his income and misuse of company funds, the company said Monday.

The Japanese automaker’s chief executive Hiroto Saikawa confirmed that Ghosn was arrested after being questioned by prosecutors following his arrival in Japan earlier in the day.

It was a stunning development that will pose a daunting test for the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance, one of the world’s biggest automakers.

The Yokohama-based company said the alleged violations involving millions of dollars by Ghosn, 64, and another executive were discovered during a months’ long investigation that was instigated by a whistleblower.

“Beyond being sorry, I feel great disappointment, frustration, despair, indignation and resentment,” Saikawa said, apologizing for a full seven minutes at the outset of the news conference. “I want to minimize the bewilderment and the impact on the operation and our business partners.”

Board to vote Thursday

Nissan said it was providing information to the prosecutors and cooperating with their investigation. The allegations also concern a Nissan representative director, Greg Kelly, who was also arrested.​

Renault and Nissan Motor Co.’s chair Carlos Ghosn listens during a media conference outside Paris in 2017 photo. He will lose his job as chair after being arrested. (Associated Press)

Saikawa said Nissan’s board will vote Thursday on dismissing both Ghosn and Kelly, who he described as the “mastermind” of the alleged abuses.

“This is an act that cannot be tolerated by the company,” he said. “This is serious misconduct.”

Saikawa said three major types of misconduct were found, including under-reporting income, using investment funds for personal gain and illicit use of company expenses.

Asked why the company had failed to spot the illicit activity for so long, Saikawa said it was because a “system in the company” allowed a lack of transparency that made the wrongdoing possible.

Questions over corporate governance

Throughout the news conference he repeatedly said he was constrained by the ongoing investigation from disclosing many of the details of the case. But he promised to beef up corporate governance, adding that the problems may have happened because too much power was concentrated in one person.

“We need to really look back at what happened, take it seriously and take fundamental countermeasures,” he said.

Already at Nissan for 19 years, Ghosn signed a contract earlier this year that would have run through 2022. His compensation, high by Japan’s moderate standards for executive pay, has been an issue over the years.

According to NHK and the Kyodo News Service, Nissan paid Ghosn nearly 10 billion yen ($89 million) over five years through March 2015, including salary and other income from the company, but reported as if he only made 5 billion yen ($44 million), or half of what he had received.

Nissan’s annual securities report shows Ghosn received annual remuneration exceeding 1 billion yen ($117 million Cdn) until fiscal 2016, when shareholders voted against his pay package and his annual pay dropped to 735 million yen ($8.6 million) in 2017, down more than 30 per cent.

Shares in Renault SA of France plunged 14 per cent early Monday. The news of Ghosn’s troubles broke after Japanese markets had closed for the day.

The allegations are a serious blow at a time when Nissan and Mitsubishi Motor Co. are still overcoming scandals over their quality testing reporting.

Ghosn is credited with helping engineer a remarkable turnaround at Nissan over the past two decades, resuscitating the Japanese automaker from near bankruptcy after he was sent in by Renault.

For the past two decades, he has maintained an unusually high profile in a nation where foreign chief executives of major Japanese companies are still relatively rare.

He looms similarly large in France, where the business world saw him as a trailblazer from outside the traditional French mould who turned Renault around and made it into a global player, notably in electric vehicles. He also led the French carmaker through massive job cuts and a costly, contentious bailout amid the world financial meltdown a decade ago and what he called a “crisis of massive proportions” for the auto industry.

Nemesis for unions

Ghosn has also been a nemesis for French unions and left-wing politicians, who saw him as a symbol of globalized, U.S.-driven capitalism and its excesses — and notably its executive pay packages.

Shareholders at Renault voted in 2016 against Ghosn’s pay package, seeing it as too generous — but the board ignored the vote. That prompted the ire of then-President Francois Hollande. Hollande’s socialist government imposed limits on executive pay at state-run companies and tried to do the same in the private sector but backed down amid concerns that it would scare away foreign investment.

Nicknamed “Le Cost Cutter,” Ghosn’s appointment inspired fears of social and economic upheaval amid plant closings, mass layoffs and the potential damage his reforms might inflict on Nissan’s ties with its suppliers. But his triumph in turning the company around and introducing greater efficiency made him something of a national hero.

Ghosn served as Nissan’s chief executive from 2001 until April 2017, becoming chief executive of Renault in 2005, leading the two major automakers simultaneously. In 2016, Ghosn became Mitsubishi Motors’ chair.

Asked if Ghosn was a charismatic leader or a despot, Saikawa said that as an outsider, “he achieved much that many others could not do in reforms, especially in the beginning.”

“This is the negative outcome of the long regime of Mr. Ghosn. But over these 19 years we have been developing many things,” Saikawa said. “He was a part of that but it was the result of hard work by many people.”

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The cost of renovating your bathroom in Toronto in 2021

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Home renovations can be a big task, especially bathroom renovations where you have to work with either an awkwardly shaped space, or one with lots of pipework and very little natural light.

Nonetheless, getting a bathroom renovation by Easy Renovation to change your existing bathroom layout, improve the ambience or add more natural skylights can be worth all the trouble. But determining how much a bathroom renovation would cost is important while setting a budget.

The pandemic has changed a lot of things with social distancing rules, working from home, and for some, being made redundant. Therefore, having a complete grasp of the financial implication of a bathroom innovation is very important.

Owning your dream bathroom can be made a reality and the good thing is, regardless of your financial situation, there are always available options. If you also decide to put up your property for sale in the future, a bathroom upgrade would be a great investment—as it would add significant value to the property. Your bathroom renovation project, like every home renovation, can either be very affordable or extravagant, but one thing is certain, you’re bound to have a more refreshed, stylish and modernistic space.  

Looking through detailed sketches of luxurious and expensive bathrooms can be quite tempting, especially when you’re on a budget. However, your bathroom can be equally transformed into something that looks just as modern, stylish and refreshing but without the heavy price tag.

Conducting a partial bathroom renovation means you only have to change a little part of your existing bathroom rather than tearing it down and starting from scratch. If you intend to carry out this type of bathroom renovation in Toronto, depending on the size of your bathroom, you can spend between $1,000 – $5,000. With a partial bathroom renovation, you can save money by tackling smaller problems that exist in your present bathroom—or you can just upgrade a few of its features.

Partial bathroom renovations are quite affordable and would leave your bathroom feeling new and stylish without being time-consuming or a financial burden—which is important considering the economic impact of the pandemic. Repainting the bathroom walls, replacing the tiles on the floor and in the shower area are examples of partial bathroom renovations which is the cheapest to accomplish.

A more expensive and popular bathroom renovation is the standard 3- or 4-piece renovation. This renovation type involves a lot more services that are not covered by a partial renovation budget. To execute a standard bathroom renovation in Toronto you need a budget of about $10,000 – $15,000.

Unlike with a partial renovation, you would have to make a lot more changes to various elements of your bathroom without the hassle of changing the overall design. You can easily restore your current bathroom into a modernistic and classy space that fits your existing style. Making changes to more aspects of your bathroom is quite easy since there is more room in your budget to accommodate it.

A standard 3- or 4-piece renovation includes everything in a partial renovation plus extras such as revamped baseboards, installing a new bathroom mirror, buying new lights, installing a new vanity, changing the toilet, and buying new shower fixtures.

If you’re one of those looking to make a complete overhaul of your existing bathroom, then the option of a complete bathroom remodel is for you.

Unlike a bathroom renovation, remodelling means a complete change of your current bathroom design and layout for one that is newer and completely unrecognizable. The possibilities when remodelling a bathroom are endless especially when you have a large budget of over $15,000. That way, you can get the opportunity to create the perfect bathroom for yourself.

In addition to all that’s available with a standard bathroom renovation, bathroom remodelling allows you to make bathtub to shower conversion, relocation of plumbing, relocation of the toilet, reframing the bathroom and even relocating the shower.

In conclusion, a bathroom renovation can be a very important upgrade to your home and depending on the features that you decide to include, in addition to the size of your bathroom, this would influence the total cost of the project.

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7 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers In Calgary

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Buying a house for the first time can be overwhelming to say the least. If you’re wondering what neighbourhood to go with, what you can afford, or even how to just get started on the process, let us take some stress off your hands! We’ve teamed up with Hopewell Residential to give you 7 tips to ensure the home you end up with is everything you dreamed of.

Hopewell Residential is a five-time Developer of the Year award winner, so their expertise is second-to-none in Calgary and beyond. Who better to learn home-buying tips from than the homebuilders themselves?

Create a checklist of needs & wants

This is a biggie. When you’re buying your very first home, you’ll want to weigh your needs vs. your wants. Ensuring you have what you love in your first home is a big, big deal.

What should you do? Easy. Set up a list of needs and a list of wants, but be pretty strict with yourself, and make sure you take your lifestyle into consideration. With the increase in remote work over the past year, it’s important to keep in mind that a home office or flex room might just be the key to maximizing at home happiness. Especially if you’re thinking you might be expanding your family later on, spare rooms and extra space is key (but more on that later!).

Or for instance, you might need a home in an area with a high walkability score, but you want to be close to certain amenities. Set yourself up with the right level of compromise and the number of homes that actually fit your ‘perfect’ idea will skyrocket.

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‘Don’t give up’: Ottawa Valley realtors share statistics, tips for homebuyers in ‘extreme’ sellers market

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The real estate market in the Ottawa Valley can be summed up this way: people from far and wide are in a buying frenzy, but there’s hardly anything to buy at the “store,” and the limited inventory is overpriced.

This “stampede” — as one realtor described it — will affect rural towns as residents grapple with finding affordable housing and agonize over their inability to purchase homes in their price range.

“We are seeing a lack of inventory in all price ranges,” said Laura Keller, a real estate agent from Carleton Place.

Helen Vincent, a Renfrew realtor, said she’s never seen a market like this in her 36 years of practice. “We postpone offers for four to five days in order to get all the buyers,” she said.

Multiple offers — between seven and 10 — became the norm, with cash offers and no conditions, as buyers faced bidding wars. “In Ottawa, they have up to 50 (offers),” she added.

“It’s very stressful. You’re going to get nine (people) ticked off, and one happy. So many people are disappointed,” Vincent said.

Terry Stavenow, an Arnprior realtor for 40 years, said that “the pent-up need took over with inventory going low. It made a stampede on everything that was available.“

“Brand new housing — it’s very much gone. Several building developers are rushing to get inventory. They usually don’t do construction in the winter months,” said Stavenow.

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