Carlos Ghosn case: Two French judges in Tokyo to conduct interrogations

On Saturday 2 July, two French judges and an investigator arrived in Tokyo to conduct questioning in the Nanterre investigation targeting Carlos Ghosn, the former head of the Renault-Nissan alliance.

A new stage in the investigation targets Carlos Ghosn in Nanterre: Two judges and a French investigator arrived in Tokyo on Saturday to conduct interrogations about financial flows that could have been ordered by the former boss of Renault-Nissan at the expense of Renault.

An arrest warrant from French courts has targeted, between 2012 and 2017, the former head of Renault-Nissan, suspected of developing a money-laundering scheme into an organized and corruption gang, with four officials of Omani auto distributor Suhail Bahwan Automobiles. (SBA). He argues the charges.

Doubts about rewards and disguised rewards

The two Nanterre judges – an investigative judge and a prosecutor from the prosecution’s environmental finance department – and the investigator from the Central Office for Combating Corruption, Financial and Fiscal Crimes (OCLCIFF) must remain until next Friday in Tokyo in order to conduct the interrogations, the Nanterre Prosecution Service confirmed.

Prosecutors told AFP the goal was to find out if these people were “knowing” of flows with the Small Business Administration deemed suspicious, or had “substantiated it”. These inflows are estimated at no less than 15 million euros, according to a source close to the investigation. According to this same source, serious or consistent indications make it possible to suspect that Carlos Ghosn ordered bonus payments from Renault to the SBA distributor, “disguised as a certain number of accounting restrictions such as bonuses and stock takeovers”, a portion of which was then sent to Front companies affiliated with Carlos Ghosn’s entourage.

The relationship between Carlos Ghosn and the founder of SBA, Suhail Bahwan – who opposes the accusations – is at the heart of the issue: the sheikh privately loaned “25 million euros” to Carlos Ghosn in the context of the “2008 financial crisis”. It is a loan that is “not required to be repaid,” according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Ghosn’s defense was not reached on Saturday. Renault, a civil party in the case, and its lawyers declined to comment.

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