Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Nanterre court issues international arrest warrant for Carlos Ghosn

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Tuesday, April 26th 2022 à 16:05 | Read 496 times

The Nanterre court has issued an international arrest warrant for the former chairman of Renault and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, who has taken refuge in Beirut to escape Japanese justice, and wants to hear him on payments of €15m considered suspicious.

The former Renault boss is the subject of a new arrest warrant (photo: Renault)
The former Renault boss is the subject of a new arrest warrant (photo: Renault)
FRANCE / LEBANON. The French justice system announced on Friday 22 April 2022 that it had issued an international arrest warrant for Carlos Ghosn in an ongoing case.

The sixty-eight year old former boss of Renault and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance currently lives in Lebanon. This country does not have extradition agreements for its nationals with Japan, from where, on parole before his trial, he fled in a rocky fashion in December 2019. The protection he enjoys in Lebanon could allow France to extradite him, as Carlos Ghosn has a triple nationality: French, Lebanese and Brazilian. However, the Lebanese authorities have served him with a ban on leaving Lebanese territory in January 2020, a decision that is accompanied by the confiscation of his French passport.

The public prosecutor's office in Nanterre (near Paris) is interested in nearly €15m of payments considered suspicious between Renault Nissan BV (RNBV - a Dutch company) and a distributor of the car manufacturer Renault in Oman, the company Suhail Bahwan Automobiles (SBA).

It has therefore issued five international arrest warrants for Carlos Ghosn, the billionaire Suhail Bahwan, founder of SBA, his two sons and the current managing director of SBA. They are accused of money laundering or corruption.

It was an internal audit of Renault that revealed everything and led to suspicions that the former boss of the Alliance had embezzled payments (performance bonuses) from the French manufacturer to the Omani company via a shell company (Good Faiths Investments). Part of this sum was used to buy a yacht. Carlos Ghosn is also under suspicion for having made a personal profit from a sponsorship agreement between Renault and the establishment running the Château de Versailles, where he organised two private parties, including one for his birthday. 

Already an arrest warrant issued by Japan

The Nanterre judges have already visited Beirut twice. In addition to the main person concerned, heard for five days in open court, they had heard two witnesses. These magistrates were accompanied by colleagues from the Paris court who are working on a case of consulting services concluded by RNBV for the benefit of Rachida Dati, former French Minister of Justice, and Alain Bauer, a criminologist also French.

Carlos Ghosn was arrested on the tarmac at Tokyo airport in November 2018 and was due to stand trial there for financial wrongdoing. He is already threatened by an arrest warrant from the Tokyo prosecutor's office, for "violating the law on immigration control", and a red notice from Interpol (activated by Japan) since his flight, hidden in a box of music equipment.

This arrest warrant from the Nanterre court is equivalent to an indictment. If it is executed, the former Renault boss will be presented to the investigating judge in that city. In February 2021, he told the French newspaper Le Parisien, "I am French, I was educated in France, I lived in France, I have a very deep attachment. And he assured that he was ready to answer to both the Lebanese and the French justice.

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