Beirut – A team of French investigators will arrive in Beirut next month to take part in the investigation into the former Renault-Nissan boss. Carlos Gossen, A Lebanese justice ministry official said on Saturday.
The officer did not give a specific date or details of what investigators would seek from Gosn.
Ex Auto Gossen, an executive from Lebanon, Brazil and France, fled Japan in a dramatic escape that made headlines last year and arrived in Lebanon on December 30, 2019.
In addition to his trial in Japan, the 66-year-old businessman faces a number of legal challenges in France, including tax evasion and money laundering, fraud and misappropriation of company assets, while leading the Renault-Nissan alliance.
The Lebanese official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said French investigators would work with their Lebanese counterparts.
Information about the investigations is confidential under French law, and French judicial officials have not responded to requests for comment on the report on Saturday.
After leading Japanese automaker Nissan for two decades, Kozen was arrested in Japan in November 2018 on charges of breach of trust, misappropriation of company assets for personal gain and breach of securities laws by not fully disclosing his compensation. He pleaded not guilty, was released on bail and left Japan. He is unlikely to be deported from Lebanon since last year.
Two inquiries into Goshen have opened in France. One focused on suspicious transactions between Renault and a dealer in Oman and private travels and suspicious transactions for events paid for by Renault-Nissan’s Netherlands-based holding company RNPV.
Another investigation focused on the misuse of company funds for a party for Goshen in Versailles.
The French investigation aims to find out who is to blame for the alleged financial irregularities between 2009 and 2020.
This includes “suspicious financial flows” between Renault and the SBA car dealership in Oman. This aspect of the investigation is targeting the multi-million euro trips and other costs that the Renault-Nissan RNBV from the Netherlands owns, but it is suspected that it may be for Kozn’s personal use.
Kozin’s French lawyers have called the payment to the SBA a “reasonable bonus” for boosting car sales in the Persian Gulf, and have denied allegations that the funds personally benefited Koz or his family.
An internal audit with Nissan last year reportedly linked the cos to 11 million euros in the RNBV, including air travel, personal expenses and donations to nonprofits.