TOKYO – Lawyers for indicted former Renault-Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn criticized a Renault audit that claims to have identified 11 million euros ($12.4 million) of misused funds during Ghosn’s time at the helm of the Franco-Japanese auto alliance.
Ghosn’s French lawyers say Renault compiled the audit without getting Ghosn’s input or response to the allegations.
“Mr. Ghosn has not, as of today, had a chance to respond to on any of the questions raised,” Ghosn’s lawyers, Jean-Yves Le Borgne and François Zimeray, said in a statement on Monday.
“Mr. Ghosn has already expressed, on many occasions, his resolve to provide all necessary clarifying information, as long as he is given the opportunity to express his view,” the statement said.
Renault said earlier this month that it has started a process to recover the suspect expenses from when Ghosn he chaired the alliance between the automaker and Nissan.
The audit was jointly commissioned with Nissan to look into governance and compliance issues at Renault-Nissan BV, or RNBV, their Netherlands-based joint venture entity.
RNBV has been a focal point of possible malfeasance following Ghosn’s Nov. 19 arrest in Japan and subsequent indictments on alleged financial misconduct during his time running Nissan. The suspect expenses include air travel fees, gifts to non-profit organizations and “certain other expenses” incurred for Ghosn, Renault said.
After Renault released the findings, Nissan issued its own statement backing the conclusions.
“The audit has revealed problematic expenditures spanning almost a decade. These range in nature from expenses for private events, hospitality and travel to gifts, donations and payments made for unclear or inappropriate purposes,” Nissan said. “The audit indicates that the joint venture lacked sufficient financial controls, approval processes and reporting transparency.”