04 July, 2019

Renault HQ searched in Ghosn probe

Police searched Renault’s HQ in Boulogne-Billancourt near Paris yesterday (July 3) in a search for evidence in their investigation into spending by former Chairman Carlos Ghosn.

The investigation by French police centres on whether a Renault sponsorship deal paid for Ghosn’s opulent wedding in 2016. The wedding itself drew public ire for its supposed costs and kicked off a French probe into the former chairman’s financial wrongdoings.

Not content to implicate Renault, which admitted it had paid for part of Ghosn’s wedding costs, the authorities are also looking into spending at Renault-Nissan BV (RNBV), the Dutch joint venture between Renault and Nissan, and Ghosn’s relationship with an Oman billionaire who was a Nissan intermediary.

Ghosn’s misappropriated spending could be up to €10.9 million, including trips to the Cannes film festival and the Rio De Janeiro Carnival as well as other jet-setting activities not linked to his corporate responsibilities.

Renault’s partner Nissan has also offered to share any evidence against its former CEO. The company worked with the French police late last year to provide information relating to Ghosn’s spending habits.

Fuel to the fire

Ghosn is also facing charges in Japan over misspending – the former chairman was detained earlier this year under suspicion of funnelling millions of Euros from the company into personal expenses.

‘My arrest this morning is outrageous and arbitrary,’ Ghosn said in a statement emailed by a US-based spokesman. ‘It is part of another attempt by some individuals at Nissan to silence me by misleading the prosecutors. Why arrest me except to try to break me? I will not be broken.’

The Brazilian, who also holds French and Lebanese citizenship, called on the French government for help. ‘I am innocent,’ Ghosn said in an interview aired on French TV stations TF1 and LCI. ‘I call on the French government to defend me, and to defend my rights as a citizen.’