Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn and his wife Carole Ghosn pose for a picture after an interview with Reuters in Beirut, Lebanon, on Jan 14. Photo: REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
crime

French investigators to move ahead with Ghosn prosecution over palace party

27 Comments
By Simon Carraud and Elizabeth Pineau

French prosecutors investigating a party that former Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn threw for his wife at the sumptuous Versailles palace will in the next few weeks ask judges to examine the case, bringing a prosecution a step closer.

Prosecutors have been investigating whether Ghosn - now in Lebanon after he last month fled prosecution in Japan on financial misconduct charges - knowingly used company resources to throw a party that was for private purposes.

An official with the prosecutor's office in Nanterre, near Paris, which has been handling the investigation, told Reuters a judge or judges would be assigned to pursue the case against Ghosn.

The judges have wider powers than prosecutors to pursue a criminal case. They can, in certain circumstances, order the detention of a suspect pending trial, or issue an international arrest warrant if the suspect is abroad.

Asked by Reuters to comment, Jean-Yves Le Borgne, one of Ghosn's legal team, said Ghosn had done nothing wrong over the party, but there may have been a misunderstanding between Versailles and party planners working for Ghosn.

The lawyer said Ghosn had offered to pay back the 50,000 euros ($55,470) cost of renting the venue for the party.

"Carlos Ghosn is ready to answer French justice. Regarding his possible travel to France, things are complicated," Le Borgne added, citing a travel ban imposed by Lebanese prosecutors, and an international Interpol notice requesting Ghosn's arrest, as demanded by Japanese authorities.

Renault did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ghosn was once a giant of the global auto industry but is now a fugitive from Japanese justice. He last month slipped out of Japan, where he was subject to strict bail conditions, managing to board a private jet to Turkey and from there flying to Lebanon, his childhood home.

He says the Japanese charges were fabricated as part of a plot to oust him from the Renault-Nissan alliance.

The party at Versailles, principal residence of generations of French kings until the French revolution of 1789, took place on Oct 8, 2016. Ghosn said it was to mark the 50th birthday of his wife, Carole.

The case revolves around whether Ghosn was aware that Renault would end up footing the bill.

Ghosn has denied any wrongdoing. He said the event was never presented as a corporate party, and he believed the venue was being offered free to him personally as a goodwill gesture by Versailles.

He said he was later surprised to find out that it cost 50,000 euros and that the amount had been deducted from an allocation for the use of Versailles that Renault had been given in exchange for financing a renovation of the chateau.

However, a spokeswoman for Versailles Palace said it was clear at the time the party took place that the event was presented as corporate in nature, and that the ultimate client the venue was dealing with was Renault-Nissan.

"There was nothing which would allow us to believe this dinner was anything other than a corporate event."

She said that Versailles had documents demonstrating the parties were presented as corporate events, and said that Versailles was ready to share them with investigators. She declined to disclose the documents to Reuters.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

27 Comments
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Apparently it becomes a personal matter to get the skin of Ghosn.

never see the JGOV moving so much for one person. they really don t want he speak.

All the best Ghosn!

-8 ( +13 / -21 )

Sellout Macron, never helped Ghosn when he was imprisoned and now sucking up to Japan to win points.

-8 ( +14 / -22 )

To be fair, I trust the French system more

-4 ( +13 / -17 )

However, a spokeswoman for Versailles Palace said it was clear at the time the party took place that the event was presented as corporate in nature, and that the ultimate client the venue was dealing with was Renault-Nissan.

"There was nothing which would allow us to believe this dinner was anything other than a corporate event."

She said that Versailles had documents demonstrating the parties were presented as corporate events, and said that Versailles was ready to share them with investigators. She declined to disclose the documents to Reuters.

Wonder what Ghosn's excuse is for this one. The doors are starting to close. He better get to enjoying his life in Lebanon, he won't have much of one left soon.

11 ( +21 / -10 )

stay in Lebanon. Enjoy evenings with your wife and family.

-1 ( +12 / -13 )

It's an investigation into 'possible' prosecution. Once again we see sensationalised and non-factual headlines in the Japanese media.

0 ( +17 / -17 )

Wonder what Ghosn's excuse is for this one. The doors are starting to close. He better get to enjoying his life in Lebanon, he won't have much of one left soon.

If he's found guilty, he'll most likely pay a fine and be done with it. Not likely France will detain him for months because he might tamper with evidence.

2 ( +14 / -12 )

We'll see when the evidence is put on the table!

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

"stay in Lebanon. Enjoy evenings with your wife and family."

Here is some news about Ghosn new home:

After months of near-constant protests, Lebanon is on fire. Rising tensions over the country’s deteriorating economy, coupled with an unhurried political class, have prompted protesters to attack Lebanese banks and clash with security forces in Beirut.

https://www.euronews.com/2020/01/23/lebanon-is-burning-world-leaders-at-davos-have-little-interest-in-putting-it-out-view

That's right enjoy the evenings with your wife and family.

LOL

11 ( +19 / -8 )

@sumikonagoya

Here is some news about Ghosn new home:

After months of near-constant protests, Lebanon is on fire. Rising tensions over the country’s deteriorating economy, coupled with an unhurried political class, have prompted protesters to attack Lebanese banks and clash with security forces in Beirut.

https://www.euronews.com/2020/01/23/lebanon-is-burning-world-leaders-at-davos-have-little-interest-in-putting-it-out-view

That's right enjoy the evenings with your wife and family.

LOL

I'm sure he STILL prefers to be in Lebanon than in Japan.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

Dude cant catch a break, but the picture says allot. Seems he is at peace there. Looked like he was shook when he was in Japan. Good luck to him.

-2 ( +13 / -15 )

He looks happy and healthy. I wish him the best!

-1 ( +12 / -13 )

Apparently it becomes a personal matter to get the skin of Ghosn.

> never see the JGOV moving so much for one person. they really don t want he speak.

> All the best Ghosn!

Agree 100%

Sellout Macron, never helped Ghosn when he was imprisoned and now sucking up to Japan to win points.

Macron is a joke. An absolute joke.

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

The photo of Ghosn receiving a kiss from his wife gets me to thinking he would most likely would have to wait a long time for that, most likely years, if he hadn't escaped Japan and their "justice" system.

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

All of these accusations, charges, time in a detention centre, locked up, constant questioning, left to hang out to dry by the French government, hounded by the media, I take my hat off to CG as most people would have had a mental breakdown by now, he must be one tough cookie.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

To all the people who think the Japanese criminal system is a complete scam....would Ghosn being indicted in France make you think otherwise? Or are BOTH the criminal systems of Japan and France a complete scam? How about the American system since there is a chance they would extradite Ghosn back to Japan? Where else (other than Lebanon) can Ghosn stay safe from being sent back to Japan?

most likely years

Once you are put in prison in Japan (after guilty plea or verdict) the time is pretty short on a global standard.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Sellout Macron, never helped Ghosn when he was imprisoned and now sucking up to Japan to win points.

You've overlooked the words "prosecutors" and "judges" in this story, and for some reason inserted Macron into it.

Macron is the president of France; his powers do not extend to having people prosecuted at his pleasure. If you find that possibility baffling, you'll have to read up on the concept of an independent judiciary. Prosecutors do not run around doing the president's bidding.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Even if Ghosn were prosecuted by France it would not disprove the shortcomings of Japan's judicial system.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Even if Ghosn were prosecuted by France it would not disprove the shortcomings of Japan's judicial system.

Main shortcoming to me is lack of Miranda rights. The REAL right to remain silent.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Unlike Japan, where crime is based on a confession and unlike the adversarial US or British systems, the French system is inquisitorial-meaning that the truth is paramount to the investigation....

5 ( +5 / -0 )

My first comment on Ghosn. I just think he is naive about Japanese Corporate World. He should know the rule of the game from the day he joined Nissan.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Soner or later, that criminal will fall..

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

It's an investigation into 'possible' prosecution. Once again we see sensationalised and non-factual headlines in the Japanese media.

Reuter is not the Japanese media

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Ghosn has denied any wrongdoing. He said the event was never presented as a corporate party, and he believed the venue was being offered free to him personally as a goodwill gesture by Versailles.

OK He thought he deserves using Versailles for his private purposes for free. Why? because he was the one who decided to use the company money to finance a renovation of the chateau? What a mixing up. In his eyes, there seems no line drawn between business and private.

Oh yeah, the case was for the party in 2016. What about the other party held in 2014 for the 15th Nissan- Renaut alliance anniversary where only a few Japanese were invited from Nissan?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

He is a fugitive, and the system is what it is. Somehow he will face justice or he sets an example for others to run, guilty or not.

Its not fair at all because there are Japanese who fled the US and never faced justice there.

Maybe he can stay in Lebanon and be safe....wish him the best

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

It's an investigation into 'possible' prosecution. Once again we see sensationalised and non-factual headlines in the Japanese media.

The Japan Today story comes from Thomson-Reuters a Canadian company. The sources that Thomson-Reuters sites are French, not Japanese. The same Thomson-Reuters story has appeared elsewhere in non-Japanese media.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

As I spent thirty wonderful years living in Japan, the rule of thumb is not to break any laws there, especially if you are a guest. That applies to any country regardless if you are a citizen or not. Every country has its own different system of enforcing the law. Japan's laws might seem a little strict to some, but that is why it's one of the most safest countries to live in. I'm not saying it's completely crime free, no country is perfect. Since coming back to the States, it's very disturbing to hear so many violent crimes committed daily. It's almost a way of life here.

As of Carlos Ghosn, he was arrested for a reason. What I have read about him over the years in Japan, was that he is a selfish, cunning man with shady ways of doing business. All of his self enrichment practices that is finally being unraveled and revealed! It's just the tip of the iceberg. It was coming to him. That's why he illegally bought the great escape! Just by hearing his whining, desperate one sided plea is disgusting! It's only obvious he's guilty.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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