The transactions at Renault, Nissan and their Amsterdam-based venture RNBV were revealed in probes and amounted to millions of euros to companies in Oman and Lebanon that may have been used for the personal benefit of former head Ghosn and his family.
Wednesday 03, April 2019
(Bloomberg) --Renault and partner Nissan Motor Corporation have uncovered payments made under Carlos Ghosn that allegedly went toward corporate jets, a yacht and his son’s start-up, leading the French carmaker to alert authorities about potential wrongdoing, according to people familiar with the matter.
The flurry of allegations will be discussed by Renault’s board this week stem from investigations started after Ghosn’s arrest in November in Tokyo. The 65-year-old former executive has denied the Japanese charges that he improperly used company funds and is awaiting trial.
Ghosn resigned from his posts as Renault CEO and chairman in January, months after being ousted as chairman at both Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, the third partner in the carmakers’ global alliance.
This is the second-time Renault has signalled possible wrongdoing by the fallen executive to authorities in France. In February, the company disclosed Ghosn may have improperly used a sponsorship deal to host his wedding party at the Palace of Versailles, he has since offered to pay back EUR 50,000.
Asked about the latest allegations, a spokeswoman for the French prosecutor’s office said Renault on March 29 added many documents to the authority’s ongoing investigation, but she declined to provide details. Renault and Nissan declined to comment.
The payments in Oman were to Suhail Bahwan Automobiles, which is the carmakers’ exclusive distributor in the Sultanate. Renault has reported the transactions to the French prosecutor’s office on suspicion the money may have been used by Ghosn for personal reasons, they said.
Nissan first flagged the payments to Renault along with discounts on vehicles to Oman dealerships that the Japanese company suspected as being inflated.
Additionally, funds were transferred to a Lebanese company named Good Faith Investment, which counted a Ghosn childhood friend as a shareholder. The money is suspected to have been used to pay for the family’s yacht and to fund the start-up of his son Anthony.
Similarly, in January a Japanese newspaper Nikkei reported that Ghosn paid $32 million and $16 million to Nissan suppliers run by two acquaintances in Oman and Lebanon. The payments were made from the cash reserve at the centre of breach of trust allegations against Ghosn, the newspaper said, adding that Tokyo prosecutors suspected Ghosn may have used Nissan’s CEO reserve fund for personal purposes.