France issues international arrest warrant for Carlos Ghosn | Business and Economy News

Ghosn staged a daring getaway, being smuggled out of Japan in a briefcase of audio equipment on a private jet, in 2019.

France has issued an international arrest warrant for Carlos Ghosn, the car tycoon who skipped bail in Japan and fled to Lebanon in a sensational getaway.

The warrant was issued for more than 15 million euros ($16.3 million) in suspicious payments between the Renault-Nissan alliance that Ghosn once led and an Omani company, Suhail Bahwan Automobiles (SBA), it said on Friday. prosecutors in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre to the AFP news agency. .

Ghosn, then head of Nissan and head of an alliance between Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors, was arrested in Japan in November 2018 on suspicion of financial misconduct with his top aide, Greg Kelly.

They both denied any wrongdoing.

In December 2019, while awaiting trial, Ghosn staged a daring getaway, being smuggled out of Japan in a briefcase of audio equipment on a private jet.

Ghosn, who holds French, Lebanese and Brazilian passports, landed in Beirut, which does not have an extradition treaty with Japan.

He said he fled because he didn’t believe he would get a fair trial in Japan, where prosecutors have a nearly 99% conviction rate in cases that go to trial.

He also said Nissan agreed with prosecutors to have him arrested because he wanted to deepen the Japanese firm’s alliance with Renault.

Later Friday, Ghosn’s spokesman said the former Nissan chief was “surprised” by reports of his international arrest warrant.

“It’s surprising, Ghosn has always cooperated with the French authorities,” a spokesman for Ghosn told Reuters news agency.

One of his lawyers, Jean Tamalet, told AFP that the French mandate was “very surprising because the investigating judge and the Nanterre prosecutor know perfectly well that Carlos Ghosn, who has always cooperated with justice, is doing subject to a judicial ban on leaving Lebanese territory”. ”.

The Nanterre judge in charge of the investigation issued five arrest warrants which, in addition to Ghosn, target the current and former leaders of the SBA.

Last year, Ghosn said he was prepared for a long process to clear his name from French authorities, and said he would challenge an Interpol warrant that prevents him from traveling outside of Lebanon.

In February last year, a Turkish court convicted two pilots and a private airline official for their involvement in the getaway.

The Istanbul court sentenced each of them to four years and two months in prison. He acquitted two other pilots of the charge of “illegal trafficking of a migrant”. Two flight attendants were also acquitted for failing to report a crime.

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