Emails dating back to February 2018 may have exposed moves by Nissan executives to dethrone the CEO of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, CEO Carlos Ghosn, to stop Nissan being merged with the conglomerate, according to news agency Bloomberg.
The series of emails allegedly show senior Nissan executives plotting the removal of Ghosn, and has been corroborated by those with inside knowledge of the plot, the report claims.
Carlos Ghosn was arrested by Japanese authorities in November 2018, accused of violating local financial law by failing to disclose some of his income.
At a press conference at the time, Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa claimed Ghosn's misconduct had been the subject of an internal investigation from a whistleblower tip-off, but denied the move was a coup d'etat.
Two months later, Ghosn said in an interview that his arrest was part of a plan by Nissan executives to thwart his intention to merge the three carmakers. While on bail in April 2019, Ghosn recorded a video calling his arrest a conspiracy.
In late December 2019 Ghosn hid in a large instrument case and fled in a private jet to Lebanon. At the time, Ghosn said: "I have not fled justice – I have escaped injustice and political persecution."
In February 2020 Nissan filed a lawsuit against Ghosn for 10 billion yen ($AUD135 million), citing harm and financial loss experienced by the Japanese car maker when Ghosn was in charge.
News agency Reuters reported in May 2020 that Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi would not be proceeding with a merger, but would continue their cooperation on future models.
MORE: The Carlos Ghosn saga