French prosecutors have ramped up their probe into alleged misappropriation of funds at Renault by ex-boss Carlos Ghosn, saying a judge had now been assigned to the case to launch a formal inquiry.
The prosecutor’s office in Nanterre, on the outskirts of Paris, had since 2019 been looking into a party Ghosn had thrown for his spouse at the luxurious Versailles palace among different financial dealings.
It mentioned in a statement Wednesday a judge would now look at several charges tied to Renault and leveled at an unnamed person or people. A judicial source confirmed that Ghosn was among them.
Ghosn – now in Lebanon after he last month escaped prosecution in Japan on alleged financial fraud charges – has repeatedly refused any wrongdoing.
Judges, who have wider powers than investigators to pursue a felony case, had been set to get involved, potentially bringing prosecution a step closer.
The prosecutor’s office stated the case involved suspicious financial flows between Renault and a car dealership in Oman, in addition to spending on trips and events.
Prosecutors had been looking into whether Ghosn knowingly used company funds to throw a party that was for private purposes – his spouse’s birthday – in 2016.
Ghosn’s lawyers have stated he did nothing wrong; however, there might have been a disagreement between Versailles and party planners over who was to foot the bill for paying for the venue.
One other event at Versailles in 2014, when Ghosn held a corporate party to rejoice the 15th anniversary of Renault’s partnership with Japan’s Nissan, will now fall under the vision of the investigation.