Ghosn’s luxurious Versailles party is part of Beirut’s trial

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On Monday, a French investigative delegation began interrogating Carlos Ghosn, the former chairman of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors in Beirut, who fled to Beirut for a year and a half to avoid trial in Japan.

Since Carlos Ghosn’s dramatic flight to Lebanon to avoid trial in Japan a year and a half ago, his main legal risk has shifted to France, where the former car executive is accused of embezzling Renault The company’s funds are used to pay for a yacht and his wife’s birthday party.

On Monday morning, a French investigative delegation began in Beirut questioning the former chairman of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors. The following are the details of the French case and the stakes for him:

Where does it happen?

Ghosn’s trial is taking place in the Criminal Court Auditorium on the fourth floor of Beirut’s Palace of Justice. The venue must be large enough to accommodate the many lawyers and investigators participating in the hearing, including Lebanese prosecutor Imad Qabalan.

French investigators plan to stay in Lebanon for a week.

Why didn’t Ghosn travel to France?

France usually does not extradite its nationals. But if this is the case, Ghosn is likely to be in danger on his way from Lebanon. For him, a potential nightmare scenario was that his plane was diverted during the flight to a country that might be willing to extradite Ghosn to Japan.

Although rare, it is not unheard of that French investigating judges went abroad to interrogate suspects, and it is not the first time for Serge Tournaire, the leader of the Ghosn investigation. Two years ago, Tournell traveled to Djibouti to interrogate and accuse a former banker in an investigation involving Libya’s secret funding of Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential campaign.

The party at the Palace of Versailles will also occupy a prominent place in the inquiry of French investigators, asking about the events that took place at the celebrations of Carlos Ghosn’s 60th birthday and his wife’s 50th birthday [File: Lewis Joly/AP Photo]

What exactly was Ghosn accused of?

French authorities are investigating the interaction of the former car executive with a car dealer in Oman, possibly personal activities and travel expenses, and payments made by Renault and Nissan’s Dutch subsidiaries to consultants.

Many of Ghosn’s doubts stemmed from information provided by Renault to prosecutors, including warnings that it had paid millions of euros to car dealer Suhail Bahwan Automobiles. Part of the funds may be used to pay for the family yacht, and to fund his son Anthony’s startup company. Ghosn denied these allegations.

The Versailles party will also be the focus, asking questions about Ghosn’s 60th birthday and his wife’s 50th birthday celebrations.

Ghosn admitted in a television interview last year that he may have made a “mistake” when he accepted the royal family’s proposal to use the hall for free to celebrate his wife’s birthday. But he added that he was never told that the gift was deducted from the credit Renault received as a sponsor.

The last set of allegations involves consulting fees paid to French politician and lawyer Rachida Dati and security expert Alain Bauer. But both Dati and Bauer have been questioned by the investigating judge in France, and neither of them has been charged.

In a statement issued on Monday morning, Ghosn’s lawyers complained about “procedural violations” in the French investigation, which they said was because most of the evidence came from the Japanese investigation.

What happens at the end of the question?

If Ghosn is convincing, maybe nothing will happen immediately, or he can be called an important witness, which is an intermediate state.

If Ghosn’s explanation does not dispel the suspicion of the French investigating judge, then when there are serious or consistent clues that may be involved, the former auto-enforcement officer is likely to be prosecuted in a process known as the “inspection procedure.”

Paradoxically, according to Ghosn’s lawyers, Ghosn actually agreed to be charged in the French case. They pointed out that this would enable his defense team to challenge procedural challenges and request the opinions of certain witnesses, rather than being excluded from the investigation process.

If the magistrate chooses another option and decides to issue an arrest warrant, Ghosn’s situation may become even more embarrassing. This may make it more difficult for the former Renault boss to influence the investigation because he may not be able to access the files in the case file.

If the allegations are established, how will the French trial proceed?

The investigation will continue regardless of whether Ghosn is charged. Only at the end of the investigation can the investigating judge decide who should be tried. Complex French investigations usually take several years to complete.



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