French investigators will arrive in Beirut on January 18th to interrogate former Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn, a Lebanese justice ministry official said on Saturday.
The investigation that’ll happen in Lebanon will take part as a probe into Ghosn’s expenses. No specific date or details of what information the investigators would seek from Ghosn were made public.
According to the Lebanese official, the French team will be joined by Lebanon’s state prosecutor.
Almost two years ago, Ghosn was arrested in Tokyo and accused of financial misconduct. He has denied wrongdoing and escaped to Lebanon last December.
Alongside his trial in Japan, the 66-year-old businessman is facing multiple legal obstacles in France, including tax evasion and alleged money laundering, fraud, and misuse of company assets while at the helm of the Renault-Nissan alliance.
Last month, Ghosn said French criminal investigators would interrogate him in 2021 as part of a different investigation regarding his expenses covered by a Dutch subsidiary of Renault and Nissan.
Authorities in France began investigating interactions with a car distributor in Oman and spending on events and trips that are considered personal to Ghosn.
The French investigation aims to determine if Carlos Ghosn is the man pulling the strings of the alleged financial violations between 2009 and 2020. That includes “suspicious financial flows” between Renault and the car dealership in Oman.
The inquiry will also focus on the several million euros of travel and other costs paid by the Netherlands-based Renault-Nissan, suspected to have been for Ghosn’s personal use.
However, Ghosn’s lawyers have repeatedly justified the payments as “fair bonuses” for having boosted car sales in the Persian Gulf and denied allegations that the funds benefited Ghosn or his family personally.
Ghosn has not been charged and has agreed to cooperate with the inquiries, which are at the preliminary stage, according to the official close to his team who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.
The French team will be in Beirut until January 22nd.