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Nissan still pursuing ex-chairman Ghosn for ‘misconduct’

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TOKYO- Tokyo prosecutors issued an arrest warrant Tuesday for the wife of Nissan’s former chairman, Carlos Ghosn, on suspicion of perjury, adding to the couple’s legal troubles in the country where he once was revered as a star executive.

The move against Carole Ghosn, who is not in Japan, followed her husband’s flight to Lebanon last week while he was out on bail awaiting trial for alleged financial misconduct.

Details on the allegations against Carole Ghosn were not immediately available. Japanese officials have said anyone caught helping a fugitive escape will face legal consequences.

Carole Ghosn was banned from meeting with her husband while he was out on bail because she was seen as someone who might help his escape.

Earlier Tuesday, Ghosn’s former employer, Nissan Motor Co., said it was still pursuing legal action against him despite his escape from Japan to Lebanon.

The Japanese automaker said in a statement that Ghosn engaged in serious misconduct while leading the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance.

“The company will continue to take appropriate legal action to hold Ghosn accountable for the harm that his misconduct has caused to Nissan,” it said without giving details.

Japan’s chief government spokesperson told reporters Tokyo has told Lebanon that Ghosn left the country illegally and was seeking co-operation in finding out what happened.

No extradition deal between Japan and Lebanon

Japan and Lebanon do not have an extradition treaty. Experts have said it would be difficult to bring Ghosn back to stand trial in Tokyo and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the situation had to be handled carefully.

The Foreign Ministry said the Japan’s ambassador to Beirut planned to meet with Lebanese President Michel Aoun later in the day.

He managed to skip bail and leave the country despite heavy surveillance while he was staying at a home in Tokyo.

Japanese news reports Tuesday gave new details of that escape, saying he left his residence alone, met two men at a Tokyo hotel, and then took a bullet train to Osaka before boarding a private jet hidden inside a case for musical equipment. Prosecutors are investigating why the cargo was not inspected before it was loaded, the broadcaster NHK and financial newspaper Nikkei said, citing unnamed sources.

The jet used, made by Canada’s Bombadier, is designed to allow easy access between its passenger and cargo compartments.

The Nikkei report said dozens of people in various countries helped to plan his clandestine departure.

Ghosn expected to speak this week

Nissan’s statement was the first word from the company since Ghosn’s flight last week. The automaker and Japanese prosecutors allege Ghosn misstated his future compensation and diverted company assets for personal gain. He says he is innocent.

Ghosn has not appeared in public since arriving in Lebanon. He is expected to give his side of the story in a news conference planned for Wednesday in Beirut.

Earlier, he said the allegations against him were concocted by Nissan, Japanese authorities and others who wanted to block efforts toward a fuller merger between Nissan and its French alliance partner Renault SA.

Ghosn said in a statement last week that he wanted to escape “injustice.” Critics of the Japanese judicial system say his case exemplifies its tendency to move too slowly and keep suspects in detention for too long.

Nissan said in its statement that an investigation is ongoing in France, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has found some wrongdoing.

Ghosn has not been charged in France or the U.S.

Tighter border controls

Japan’s Justice Minister Masako Mori said Japan would tighten border control precautions to prevent a recurrence. She did not confirm reports that Ghosn left via the Kansai Airport in Osaka, hidden inside a musical equipment box as he was brought aboard a private jet and flown first to Turkey and then to Lebanon.

Mori told reporters Tuesday that all airports will be required to check all cargo and luggage, including items destined for private jets.

She reiterated her defence of the justice system and denounced Ghosn’s escape as an “unjustifiable” crime. She said each nation’s system has its own way of making arrests and granting bail.

The scandal over Ghosn’s case has tarnished Nissan’s image and created a leadership vacuum at a time when the automaker’s profits and sales are tumbling. Ghosn’s successor Hiroto Saikawa also resigned last year amid financial misconduct allegations related to questionable income.

“Nissan will continue to do the right thing by cooperating with judicial and regulatory authorities wherever necessary,” the Yokohama-based company said.

Although Ghosn is unlikely to face trial in Japan, Greg Kelly, another Nissan former executive, is still facing charges of under-reporting Ghosn’s future compensation. He says he is innocent.

Kelly, an American, who is out on bail, has not been charged with the breach of trust allegations Ghosn is also facing.

Nissan has also been charged as a corporate entity. The company says it won’t fight the charges and will pay the required fines.

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Goldman Sachs moves to full ownership of China securities JV

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Goldman Sachs said on Sunday it received approval from China’s securities regulator to take full control of its mainland securities business.

The U.S. bank said it would buy the remainder of Goldman Sachs Gao Hua Securities Company Ltd (GSGH), and rename it as Goldman Sachs (China) Securities Company Ltd.

The migration of its onshore business units to GSGH from Beijing Gao Hua Securities was underway, it added.

“This marks the start of a new chapter for our China business following a successful 17-year joint venture,” Goldman Sachs said in a statement.

It becomes the second Wall Street firm to be granted approval to shift to full ownership of its securities business after JPMorgan Chase & Co moved to 100% in August https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/jpmorgan-gets-beijings-approval-first-fully-foreign-owned-brokerage-2021-08-06.

Securities businesses in China typically house investment banking, research, equities and fixed income businesses.

Unlike most of the other China JVs, Goldman had day-to-day operational control of its business even with its minority ownership.

Lucrative underwriting fees on equity and bond transactions – especially initial public offerings (IPOs) – in China’s expanding capital markets has been the driving force for Western banks to increase stakes in their mainland business.

Full ownership could allow foreign banks to expand their operations in the multi-trillion-dollar Chinese financial sector, and better integrate them with their global businesses.

Morgan Stanley currently owns 90% of its securities joint venture with partner Shanghai Chinafortune Co Ltd after increasing its stake https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/morgan-stanley-nears-full-ownership-china-ventures-with-stake-buys-2021-05-28 in May.

China’s regulators had examined Goldman Sach’s application to move to full ownership https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/goldman-sachs-signs-pact-wholly-own-china-joint-venture-2020-12-11 since the bank flagged its intention to buy out its partner in December.

(Reporting by Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong and Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V and Stephen Coates)

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From Canada? Want to go to the U.S.A.? Better have the right vaccine – Boing Boing

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The last couple of years have been hard on Canadian Snowbirds. Many of us, myself included, are used to heading south in the fall, to escape the icy bullshit of a Canadian winter. Unfortunately, thanks to COVID-19, a lot of us have been trapped, north of the wall, since March 2020. 

I’ve been fine with this. 

When the land border was closed down to everyone but essential travellers, my mindset was that if I was going to get sick, I’d just as soon do it in my own nation where healthcare is free (yeah, we pay our taxes, but still.) Then, last winter, the vaccines started to roll out. By early spring, both my wife and I had been injected with two doses of Pfizer’s version of the brew. We breathed a sigh of relief and began to hope that we might, one day soon, be able to start our travels again. I’m sure that lots of other folks did too. Unfortunately, depending on where in Canada they live, it wasn’t a sure bet that they’d wind up with two doses of the same vaccine. In the rush to get as many Canadians vaccinated against the plague as possible, many provinces started mixing and matching whichever vaccines that they had on hand.

So, you could wind up with Pfizer for your first jab and Moderna for your second. It’s cool, they told us. Mixing vaccines affords tons of protection, we were assured. Why, we’d all be able to get back to our lives in no time… provided said life doesn’t include travelling to one of many countries where vaccine mixing is considered to be a dangerous load of bullshit. You may have guessed by now, that America is one of those countries.  

From The CBC:

…at the same time the U.S. reopens the land border, it will start requiring that foreign land and air travellers entering the country be fully vaccinated.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) currently doesn’t recognize mixed COVID-19 vaccines — such as one dose of AstraZeneca, and one dose of Pfizer or Moderna — and hasn’t yet said if travellers with two different doses will be blocked from entry when the vaccine requirement kicks in.

So that sucks. 

According to the CBC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention might soon consider changing their stance on mixed vaccines. I’d like to think that a crap load of data on the effectiveness of mixed vaccine dosing will play into such a decision. No matter how badly folks might want to head south for the winter, Americans deserve to be as safe as they can be. 

In the meantime, I suspect that, just like last fall, many snowbirds will wind up on Vancouver Island, where I hang my hat, these days. It’s warm enough here that living in an RV is both possible and comfortable.

But I’ll tell ya, it’s a far cry from kicking back in the trade winds on the cusp of Texas’ southern border.

Image via Wikipedia Commons

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Travel industry, health experts applaud U.S. decision to allow travellers with mixed doses – CTV News

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TORONTO —
The organization representing Canada’s tourism industry is applauding the U.S. government’s decision to allow Canadian travellers with mixed vaccine doses once the border opens in November.

On Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that travellers with “any combination” of two doses of vaccines approved by the World Health Organization or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration “are considered fully vaccinated.”

Beth Potter, who is president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, says the announcement is “really good news.”

“What it does is it provides a little bit more clarity, and this is something that we’ve talked about a lot. We know now that if you’ve got that mixed dose, as of November you’re going to be able to enter into the United States,” she told CTV News Channel on Saturday.

Infectious disease expert Isaac Bogoch of the University Health Network in Toronto says allowing mixed dosed travellers is “a smart and data driven approach.”

“This will be a huge relief to many Canadians who did the right thing and got vaccinated and even took those mixed and matched vaccine approaches. It’s safe, it’s effective, and now there’s a recognition of this,” Bogoch said in an interview with CTV News Channel on Saturday.

“I’m really happy to hear this. It’s about time.”

This announcement came after the White House confirmed that the U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico would be open to fully vaccinated tourists by Nov. 8.

On the American side, the U.S. Travel Association also applauded the Biden Administration’s plans to reopen the border.

“Reopening to international visitors will provide a jolt to the economy and accelerate the return of travel-related jobs that were lost due to travel restrictions,” said association president and CEO Roger Dow in a statement on Friday.

“We applaud the administration for recognizing the value of international travel to our economy and our country, and for working to safely reopen our borders and reconnect America to the world.”

But while the U.S. won’t require Canadians to show proof of vaccination to cross, returning to Canada requires a negative PCR test conducted at most 72 hours before crossing the border.

PCR tests can cost upwards of $200. The Canadian government does not accept rapid antigen tests, which can be had for only $40.

Brian Higgins, a New York congressman whose district includes the border cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, wants to see Canada drop the COVID-19 PCR test requirement.

“I think that the U.S. decision to allow Canadians coming into the United States without a test again underscores the potency of the vaccine,” Higgins told The Canadian Press on Friday. “I would like to see that reciprocated by our Canadian neighbours.”

However, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said that Canada will continue to require PCR tests so long as the Public Health Agency of Canada advocates for it.

“We’ve seen throughout the pandemic that advice has evolved as new evidence and new data is available. We’ll continue to follow the advice in the Public Health Agency Canada​,” he said in an ​interview with CTV’s Question Period on Sunday.

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