Paris (Times Of Ocean) – French prosecutors have issued an international arrest warrant for disgraced auto tycoon Carlos Ghosn (ex-head of Nissan and Renault), who fled Japan for Lebanon in 2019.
The prosecutor’s office in the Paris suburb of Nanterre said Friday that it issued an arrest warrant for the former head of Nissan and Renault, as well as four other people, following an investigation opened in 2019 into possible money laundering and abuse of company assets. Suhail Bahwan Automobiles (SBA), a vehicle distributor company in Oman, and Renault-Nissan are alleged to have made millions of dollars in suspect payments.
In 2019, the former head of Nissan-Renault alliance fled to Lebanon while on bail facing financial misconduct charges in Japan. He denies all allegations. The media informed Ghosn of the new warrant Friday, and he noted that he can’t leave Lebanon anyway.
“I am prepared to defend myself,” he told France’s BFM television. He repeatedly insisted that he did not receive money from Oman distributor and that he was not embezzled. According to Lebanese TV station Al-Jadeed, Ghosn questioned the timing of the arrest warrant and said that he had planned to retire in Lebanon a long time ago. “How could a warrant such as that be issued two days before the (French) presidential election?” Ghosn asked. “It makes us suspicious. It stinks.”
He said French and Japanese judicial authorities should cooperate with Lebanese authorities and send the cases to Beirut where the Lebanese judicial authorities can determine if there was any wrongdoing. He said otherwise the trial will be held in France in his absence.
The Nanterre prosecutors’ office described the warrant as part of the ongoing investigation into two separate cases involving Ghosn in France. In an interview with The Associated Press last year, Ghosn expressed confidence and determination to fight to regain his reputation.
Ghosn’s PR team responded to the AP statement Friday by calling the French warrant “surprising.” They suggested it is ineffective because Ghosn “is subject to a judicial ban on leaving Lebanese territory.” Lebanon does not extradite its citizens. Ghosn holds citizenship in Lebanon, France, and Brazil.