Renault said today its board has decided not to pay out the equivalent of two years of salary to ex-CEO Carlos Ghosn which would have been due to him under a non-compete clause in his contract. 

After a meeting today, the board also said that he was not eligible for millions of euros' in stock options which were "subject to his presence within Renault". 

Company sources, speaking to AFP ahead of the meeting, said the loss of the non-compete pay and stock options amounted to about €10m for Ghosn, who remains in jail awaiting trial in Japan. 

The former auto boss, once considered the most powerful man in the industry, resigned his position at Renault last month after being arrested on financial misconduct charges in Tokyo in November. 

He is accused of under-reporting millions of dollars in salary as head of Nissan, Renault's partner in an alliance Ghosn built up into the world's top-selling auto group. 

The French state, which is a major shareholder in Renault and had tangled with Ghosn before over his pay, had said it would do its utmost to avoid a "golden parachute" for the 64-year-old that would have proved highly controversial. 

As part of his pay package, Ghosn was entitled to 100,000 Renault shares each year, but they were only convertible after four years in the company. 

Ghosn was therefore unable to claims the shares from 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, the company said in its statement. 

An artist's impression of Carlos Ghosn at his recent court appearance

At current prices, the 100,000 Renault shares from 2015 would be worth some €5.7m.

Earlier it emerged that Carlos Ghosn's chief defence attorney Motonari Otsuru has resigned and has been replaced by a team that includes hotshot lawyer Junichiro Hironaka.

The moves mark a change of strategy from the ousted Nissan chairman three months after his arrest. 

Ghosn, Nissan's one-time saviour, has been held in detention since his November 19 arrest and indicted for under-reporting his salary and breach of trust. He has denied the charges. 

The once-feted auto executive hired Hiroshi Kawatsu as head of a new defence team, his office said today.

Hironaka, 73, has won several high profile cases, helping acquit senior lawmaker Ichiro Ozawa and senior bureaucrat Atsuko Muraki. 

Hiring Hironaka would mean a more aggressive legal strategy, said Nobuo Gohara, a former prosecutor. Otsuru previously led the special prosecutors' office that is now handling Ghosn's case. 

"Otsuru was miscast. He worked at the heart of the special prosecutors office so he was not someone who was going to go after them aggressively," Gohara said. 

"Hironaka is an experienced defence lawyer who has won a number of cases. He will mount a more thorough and aggressive defence." 

Otsuru's office confirmed his resignation in a statement, but gave no reason for the move. 

A second member of Ghosn's defense team, Masato Oshikubo, had quit, it said. Go Kondo, Ghosn's third defence lawyer, was unavailable for comment. 

Ghosn released a short statement thanking Otsuru for his team's "tireless and diligent work", and called him a "very capable and intelligent man and lawyer". 

The sudden change in lawyers comes ahead of the expected start of informal meetings with prosecutors and judges to discuss pretrial preparations, an indication that there will be no new charges against Ghosn. 

"As we begin the trial phase, I have decided to engage Hironaka-sensei as my legal counsel," Ghosn said, using a honorific suffix. 

"I look forward to defending myself vigorously, and this represents the beginning of the process of not only establishing my innocence but also shedding light on the circumstances that led to my unjust detention," he added. 

Ghosn, 64, told the Nikkei newspaper last month that Nissan executives opposed to his plans for closer ties with automaking partner Renault plotted to remove him. 

Ghosn was widely credited with rescuing Nissan from near-bankruptcy after he was brought over to Japan in 1999 by Renault after the French automaker bought a chunk of Nissan. 

Since his arrest, Ghosn has resigned as chairman of Renault and been sacked as chief of Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors, the three-way alliance he once captained. 

The scandal has roiled the global car industry and created tension between Nissan and Renault. 

Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa is scheduled to meet newly appointed Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard tomorrow in Japan as they look at ways to cement their partnership.