Former Nissan Chief Ghosn faces second French arrest warrant


IFrench investigators have issued a second international arrest warrant against Carlos Ghosn, the former chief of Renault-Nissan, as reported by a source close to the case to AFP on Tuesday.

This new arrest warrant was issued by a Paris investigating magistrate when Ghosn failed to appear for charges last year, which included allegations of corruption. Currently residing in Lebanon, Ghosn fled there after a dramatic escape from Japanese custody in 2019, during which he hid in an audio-equipment box.

Ghosn’s lawyers, Leon Del Forno and Martin Reynaud, stated that their client is unable to leave Lebanon, as the Lebanese authorities have prohibited him from doing so due to the Japanese prosecution. Consequently, he cannot respond to the summons for charges in France.

This second warrant comes after a previous one issued in April 2022 by investigators in the Paris suburb of Nanterre, targeting Ghosn over allegations of abuse of company funds and money laundering in connection with contracts issued by a Renault-Nissan subsidiary during his tenure.

The new arrest warrant marks the potential final step in a separate probe initiated in 2019 that involves accusations of corruption, bribery of an agent for an international public organization, influence peddling, abuse of company funds, and receiving stolen goods.

One significant aspect of this investigation revolves around 900,000 euros ($980,000) sent to Paris politician and former minister Rachida Dati by Renault-Nissan’s Dutch subsidiary. This money was allegedly intended to pay for Dati’s legal services during 2010-2012, a period when she was also serving as a European Parliament lawmaker.

Dati has been under investigation since July 2021 for corruption and influence peddling during her time as an elected official. Investigators are now trying to ascertain whether Dati indeed provided legal services to Renault-Nissan or if the relationship was, in fact, a disguised form of lobbying at the European Parliament, which would be in violation of regulations barring MEPs from engaging in such activities.

Olivier Baratelli and Olivier Pardo, Dati’s lawyers, expressed their belief that Carlos Ghosn’s involvement in the case will help reveal the truth. They intend to request joint questioning of both Dati, who currently serves as the mayor of Paris’ seventh district, and Ghosn. The situation remains fluid, and further updates on this matter are awaited.

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