Ghosn case: two French magistrates in Tokyo for questioning

Ghosn case: two French magistrates in Tokyo for questioning

New stage in the investigation targeting Carlos Ghosn in Nanterre: two magistrates and a French investigator arrived in Tokyo on Saturday to conduct interrogations about the financial flows which would have been ordered by the former boss of Renault-Nissan to the detriment of Renault.

Flow of 15 million euros

Targeted by an arrest warrant from the French courts, the former boss of Renault-Nissan is suspected of having developed, between 2012 and 2017, a money laundering scheme in an organized gang and corruption, with four officials of the distributor Omani automobile Suhail Bahwan Automobiles (SBA). He disputes these accusations.

The two magistrates from Nanterre, an investigating judge and a prosecutor from the eco-financial department of the prosecution, and the investigator from the Central Office for the Fight against Corruption and Financial and Tax Offenses (OCLCIFF) must stay until Friday in Tokyo to conduct interrogations, confirmed the Nanterre prosecution. The objective is to know if these interviewees were “informed” of the flows with SBA considered suspicious, or even had “validated” them, the prosecution told AFP.

These flows are estimated at a minimum of 15 million euros, according to a source close to the investigation. According to this same source, serious or concordant indications make it possible to suspect Carlos Ghosn of having ordered the payment of bonuses from Renault to the SBA distributor, “disguised by a certain number of accounting entries such as bonuses, reversals of stock”, and part of which was then sent to shell companies belonging to Carlos Ghosn’s entourage.

International arrest warrant

The relationship between Carlos Ghosn and the founder of SBA, Suhail Bahwan, who disputes the accusations, is at the heart of the case: the sheikh notably lent “25 million euros” to Carlos Ghosn in the context of “the financial crisis of 2008”, a loan whose repayment is “not requested”, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Carlos Ghosn’s defense could not be reached on Saturday. Renault, a civil party in this case, and its lawyers declined to comment.

Opened in February 2020, the judicial investigation gave rise on April 21 to the issuance of an international arrest warrant against Carlos Ghosn for passive corruption, abuse of corporate assets, breach of trust and money laundering in an organized gang. The judge in charge of this investigation summoned him on May 19 for a first appearance interrogation, but the latter justified, once again, his absence by his prohibition to leave Lebanon.

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