Former Nissan Chief Carlos Ghosn Faces 2nd French Warrant

File / AFP-Jiji
Former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn attends a press conference in Jounieh, Lebanon, on Sept. 29, 2020.

PARIS (AFP-Jiji) — French investigators issued a second international arrest warrant against former Renault-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn in April, a source close to the case told AFP Tuesday.

The warrant was issued by a Paris investigating magistrate when Ghosn did not appear to be charged last year on counts including corruption.

Ghosn currently lives in Lebanon, where he fled after a dramatic 2019 escape from Japanese custody accomplished in part by hiding in an audio-equipment box.

The former CEO “cannot leave Lebanon, as Lebanese authorities have forbidden him to quit the territory because of the Japanese prosecution. He therefore cannot respond to the summons to be charged in France,” his lawyers Leon Del Forno and Martin Reynaud told AFP.

A previous warrant dating to April 2022, from investigators in Paris suburb Nanterre, already targeted him over abuse of company funds and money laundering, in connection with contracts issued by a Renault-Nissan subsidiary while he was in charge.

This year’s warrant could be the last step in a separate probe opened in 2019 for corruption, bribery of an agent for an international public organization, influence peddling, abuse of company funds and receiving stolen goods.

Ghosn may yet face a criminal trial on those charges, which relate to €900,000 ($980,000) sent to Paris politician and former minister Rachida Dati by Renault-Nissan’s Dutch subsidiary.

The cash was supposedly to pay for Dati’s work as a lawyer in 2010-12, a time when she was also serving as a European Parliament lawmaker.

She has been under investigation since July 2021 for corruption and influence peddling while serving as an elected official.

Investigators want to find out whether Dati in fact did any legal work for Renault-Nissan or whether the relationship was in fact a concealed form of lobbying at the European Parliament, which MEPs are barred from doing.

“Carlos Ghosn’s being brought into the case will allow the truth to emerge,” Dati’s lawyers Olivier Baratelli and Olivier Pardo told AFP.