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Carlos Ghosn: France issues an international arrest warrant

The prosecutor’s office in Nanterre, near Paris, confirmed to CNN on Friday that it had issued an international arrest warrant for Ghosn, who now lives in Lebanon, and the owners of Suhail Bahwan Automobiles, a distributor of Omani vehicles.

“The judge in charge of the case has issued five international arrest warrants against Mr. Carlos Ghosn and the current owners or former managers of the Omani company SBA,” a spokesperson for the prosecution said in a statement.

French media, including CNN affiliate BFMTV, reported that the warrant related to more than 15 million euros ($16.3 million) in alleged suspicious payments between Renault-Nissan and SBA.

The prosecutor’s office told CNN that the warrant covers many facts and “relates to chargeable offenses within the scope of the entire case currently under investigation.”

SBA did not respond to a request for comment outside of normal working hours.

Ghosn has always allegations denied of financial misconduct at the car giant and said he fled house arrest in Japan in 2019 – where he faced accusations of filing false financial statements – because he did not believe he would receive a fair trial.

Ghosn’s attorney, Jean Tamalet, a partner at King & Spalding, told CNN Business in a statement Friday that the retainer was “surprising.”

“The Nanterre investigating judge and prosecutor know perfectly well that Carlos Ghosn, who has always cooperated with French justice, is subject to a judicial ban on leaving Lebanese territory,” he said.

“We believe this decision is the only technical remedy they have found to be able to try the case in court in the future.”

Ghosn, the former chairman and CEO of auto alliancewas arrested in Japan in 2018 after an internal company investigation alleged “gross misconduct” during his tenure, including accusations that he allegedly underestimated his income.

In December 2019, while awaiting trial, Ghosn – who has French, Lebanese and Brazilian nationality – staged a stunning escape from Japan to Lebanon, a country where he spent time as a child. Lebanon does not extradite its citizens.

The former auto boss said he was ready to stand trial outside of Japan.

Ghosn confirmed to BBC in July 2021 that he left the country on a private plane while hiding inside a box normally used for audio equipment.
“I didn’t leave Japan to hide somewhere,” Ghosn told CNN’s Richard Quest in an interview with January 2020. “I left Japan because I seek justice and I want to clear my name”,

“Freedom, no matter how it comes, is always sweet,” he added.