Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 July 2019

Renault and Nissan private jet use under scrutiny in Ghosn investigation

The two allied carmakers have three more jets than was known at their disposal.

Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn leaves his lawyer's office in Tokyo. Reuters
Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn leaves his lawyer's office in Tokyo. Reuters

Investigators are looking into Renault and Nissan’s use of up to four private jets following the arrest of Carlos Ghosn in Japan, according to a report.

Independent auditors working for the car makers have discovered the Dutch holding company which owns Nissan and Renault possessed four private jets, three more than previously known, the Financial Times reported.

Before he was arrested for financial misconduct in Japan in November last year, Mr Ghosn was known for having a hectic international travel schedule for business and has family and property spread across the globe. The internal investigation was launched following his arrest.

In a 2017 blog post on Nissan’s website, Mr Ghosn described his schedule, saying “it helps that I can sleep well on an airplane”.

"It is not uncommon for me to leave Tokyo on a Friday night, attend meetings in another country over the weekend, then fly to Paris for a full week of work,” he said.

One of the planes was owned by the holding firm, the other three were on a long-term lease.

Mr Ghosn faces criminal charges in Japan over failing to report around $82 million in salary from Nissan, and for temporarily transferring personal financial losses onto Nissan's books during the global financial crisis.

The lead lawyer for Carlos Ghosn on Tuesday called for the tycoon to be tried separately from Nissan and his former right-hand man, in the interests of a "fair trial".

Junichiro Hironaka told reporters that the court currently planned to try Mr Ghosn, Nissan and Greg Kelly together and that he had lodged a petition with the court for separate cases heard by different judges.

"Forcing such a trial on Mr Ghosn is an extreme violation of Mr Ghosn's right to a fair trial," lawyers for the executive wrote in the petition, also made public on Tuesday.

He was released on bail in March pending his trial in Tokyo. The trial is expected to begin in September, Mr Ghosn denies any wrongdoing.

Updated: April 2, 2019 04:53 PM