PARIS (AP) – French prosecutors have issued an international arrest warrant for embarrassed car tycoon Carlos Ghosn, who fled Japan to Lebanon in 2019 on a horrific flight.
The prosecutor’s office in the Paris suburb of Nanterre announced on Friday that it had issued an order for the former head of Nissan and Renault and four other people based on an investigation launched in 2019 into money laundering and misappropriation of company assets.
Prosecutors are investigating millions of dollars in alleged suspicious payments between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Suhail Bahwan Automobiles (SBA), a vehicle distribution company in Oman.
The former head of the Nissan-Renault alliance fled to Lebanon in 2019, while he was accused of financial abuse in Japan. Misconduct is denied.
Ghosn said he learned of the new order through the media on Friday, noting that he was banned from leaving Lebanon anyway.
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“I am ready to defend myself,” he told French television BFM. He repeatedly insisted that he had not received any money from the Omani distributor and that there had been “no embezzlement.”
Later on Friday, Ghosn told Lebanese TV station Al-Jadeed that he doubted the timing of the arrest warrant, adding that he had long intended to retire in Lebanon.
“The time is surprising. Such an order was issued two days before the (French) presidential election? “Ghosn said.” It makes us a little suspicious. It smells bad. ”
Asked if he could trigger a crisis between France and Lebanon, Ghosn replied: “I don’t think so. I think there must be understanding between the two countries. “
He said the French and Japanese judicial authorities should work with the Lebanese authorities and send cases to Beirut, and the Lebanese judicial authorities can check to see if any irregularities have occurred. He said the trial in France would be in his absence.
The Nanterre prosecutor’s office described the order as the next step in an ongoing investigation, one of two separate cases involving Ghosn in France.
In an interview with The Associated Press last year, Ghosn was confident, full of energy and determined to fight to regain his reputation.
In a statement sent to the AP by his public relations team, she described the French order as “surprising” and said it was ineffective, as Ghosn was “subject to a court order banning him from leaving Lebanese territory.”
Lebanon does not extradite its citizens. Ghosn has the citizenship of Lebanon, France and Brazil.
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