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French investigators questioned Carlos Ghosn in Lebanon



Officials from the Lebanese Ministry of Justice said on Saturday that a group of French investigators will come to Beirut next month to participate in the investigation of the former Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn.

The official did not provide specific dates or details, what information the investigators will seek from Ghosn.

Ghosn, a former automobile executive who is a national of Lebanon, Brazil and France, fled Japan. He fled Japan last year, making headlines and arriving in Lebanon on December 30, 201

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In addition to being tried in Japan, the 66-year-old businessman also faces many legal challenges in France, including tax evasion and suspected money laundering, fraud and misuse of company assets, and this is the leader of the Renault-Nissan alliance.

Former CEO of Nissan Motor Company Carlos Ghosn takes a group photo in Beirut, Lebanon on Tuesday, August 25, 2020. (Tamara Abdul Hadi/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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The Lebanese official stated on the condition of anonymity that the French investigators will work with their Lebanese counterparts while complying with the regulations.

According to French law, information about the investigation is secret, and French judicial officials did not request comment on this report on Saturday.

After leading the Japanese automaker Nissan for two decades, Ghosn was arrested in Japan in November 2018 on charges of breaching a trust, abusing company assets for personal gain, and failing to fully disclose his salary in violation of securities laws. He denied wrongdoing and fled Japan while on bail pending trial. He has been extradited from Lebanon since last year.

In France, at least two investigations related to Ghosn have been carried out. One targeted suspicious transactions between Renault and distributors in Oman, and suspicious payments for private travel and activities paid by Renault-Nissan’s holding company in the Netherlands, RNBV.

In a file photo on January 10, 2020, Carlos Ghosn, the former chairman of Nissan, spoke to Japanese media in an interview in Beirut, Lebanon. (Meika Fujio / Kyodo News through AP, document)

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Another investigation focused on people who were suspected of misusing company funds to attend parties for Ghosn in Versailles.

The French investigation aims to determine who was at fault for a series of suspected financial violations between 2009 and 2020.

These include “suspicious capital flows” between Renault and SBA car dealerships in Oman. The goal of this investigation is to hold RNBV by Renault-Nissan in the Netherlands, but it is suspected to be Ghosn’s personal use and to pay millions of euros in travel and other expenses.

Ghosn’s French lawyer stated that the payment to the SBA was a “reasonable bonus” because it increased car sales in the Persian Gulf and denied allegations that the funds benefit Ghosn or his family personally.

Renault said last year that an internal audit with Nissan found that the RNBV allegedly related to Ghosn had 11 million euros in suspicious expenses, including air travel, personal expenses and donations to non-profit organizations.


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