France issues arrest warrant for Carlos Ghosn



PARIS — French prosecutors issued international arrest warrants for former Nissan Motor Co. and Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn as well as four individuals they say are linked to an auto dealer in Oman, alleging the group helped Ghosn steer millions of euros from Renault SA, The Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday.

The paper, citing people familiar with the matter, said a magistrate issued five international arrest warrants for Ghosn, and the owners or former directors of Suhail Bahwan Automobiles, a vehicle distributor in Oman.

Prosecutors in Nanterre, a Paris suburb, allege Ghosn directed millions of dollars of Renault funds through the Omani car distributor for his personal use, including for the purchase of a 120-foot yacht, the paper said.

Ghosn’s arrest by Tokyo prosecutors on Nov. 19, 2018 stunned the business community, a shock that resonated further just over a year later when he escaped from Japan while out on bail.

An imperial force at Nissan since leading a turnaround behind a bailout from Renault in 1999, Ghosn made enemies in nearly two decades at the top of what became the one of the world’s biggest automotive alliances.

He lives in Lebanon after fleeing Japan, where he was on trial for financial wrongdoing. He initially welcomed the French probe, saying that he believed in the French justice system, betting it would allow him to establish innocence.

A spokeswoman for Ghosn declined to comment on the arrest warrants, the Journal reported.

Ghosn is living in a house that Nissan purchased for him. He is a legal citizen of of France, Brazil and Lebanon, which doesn’t extradite citizens.

While he will likely never face trial while in Lebanon, the French warrants are another setback for Ghosn. He claims to be the victim of a Japanese justice system that he says is unfair and presumes guilt.

Japanese officials say he would have had a fair trial if he had remained in Japan.

The Journal reported people close to Ghosn don’t rule out his traveling to France to face trial at some point, although the matter is complicated because Lebanon is in possesion of his passports.


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