Carlos Ghosn investigated by France into possible tax evasion

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Carlos Ghosn, an auto executive turned fugitive, is under investigation in France for possible tax evasion in his last three years as head of Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co., according to a person close to him. folder.
Ghosn and the French tax authorities have been discussing since the middle of last year whether the former chief executive should have been considered a French resident in 2016, 2017 and 2018, said the person, who asked not be named because the information is not. Public. Ghosn said in 2012 that he moved to the Netherlands and was subsequently treated as a non-resident, the person said.

The newspaper Liberation reported on Monday that a French judge had authorized authorities to seize nearly 13 million euros ($ 16 million) in assets from Ghosn and his wife, Carole, pending the outcome of the investigation. . The authorities are preparing a “major” tax adjustment, according to the newspaper.

A spokeswoman for Ghosn declined to comment.

The tax investigation adds to Ghosn’s legal woes in France, where authorities are already investigating his role in the expenses covered by Renault and the Dutch subsidiary that oversaw his alliance with Nissan. Ghosn was arrested in Tokyo two years ago and charged with financial crimes, including underreporting his compensation at Nissan. He has denied the charges and escaped to Lebanon last year.

The assets seized include an apartment in Paris belonging to Carole worth 5.9 million euros, half of the ownership of a house in the western suburbs of L’Etang-la-Ville and shares in Renault , according to the report, which did not specify where the information came from.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Monday refused to confirm an investigation into Ghosn’s tax affairs. Although he has access to information on such investigations, Le Maire said he would not intervene.

“Whether he is on the run, in the countryside or not in the countryside, he is a French citizen and will be treated like a French citizen,” the minister told Ghosn on France Info radio.

In his book published last month, Ghosn said he was using his residency status in the Netherlands as a “signal of neutrality” as he led the three-company alliance which also includes Mitsubishi Motors Corp. This was also justified by the salary which had been paid to him by the subsidiary Renault-Nissan BV, he writes.

In separate investigations, French authorities are investigating the former Renault chairman’s interactions with a car distributor in Oman and spending related to events and travel that may have been personal, as well as payments that Renault-Nissan BV carried out to consultants. Ghosn said last month that French criminal investigators would travel to Beirut next year to question him.

“Why should I flee French justice?” he said in a broadcast interview. “I will answer the questions that are posed to me. I have a clear conscience. ”

Ghosn also said he would not risk visiting France and Brazil for fear that a problem along the way could give Japanese authorities an opportunity to secure his extradition. He said he was forced to stay in Lebanon and had armed bodyguards.

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