Renault scraps Ghosn’s pension as scandal deepens

Carlos Ghosn Renault-Nissan

Renault blocked former CEO Carlos Ghosn’s pension on Wednesday, as the French automaker stated an internal investigation had identified “questionable and concealed practices” by the fallen auto industry leader.

Renault, that had initially questioned alliance partner Nissan’s allegations against Ghosn after his November arrest, also verified it had alerted prosecutors concerning suspect payments to a Middle Eastern distributor.

Ghosn is awaiting trial in Japan on charges that he failed to report $82 million in Nissan pay he had arranged to get after retirement. He has also been indicted for temporarily moving personal investment losses to Nissan and steering $14.7 million in company funds to a Saudi business associate.

The former Renault-Nissan boss has rejected any misconduct.

Renault contacted French prosecutors late last week after revealing millions of euros in payments referred as dealer incentives to Omani distributor Suhail Bahwan Automobile (SBA), sources close to the company previously informed Reuters.

The file sent to prosecutors reveals that much of the cash was then channeled to a Lebanese company controlled by Ghosn associates, the sources stated. Nissan earlier discovered that its own regional subsidiary made questionable payments of over $30 million to SBA.

Renault stated on Wednesday it had “informed the French judicial authorities of possible issues concerning payments made to one of Renault’s distributors in the Middle East.”

An internal investigation discovered “questionable and concealed practices and violations of the group’s ethical principles”, the company added. Its joint audit with 43.4 percent-owned partner Nissan is due to report final conclusions by the end of April.

Ghosn, credited with having recovered both Renault and Nissan two decades ago, was ousted by the Japanese firm within days of his arrest and was ousted as Renault chairman and CEO in January. In his resignation letter, he also notified the board that he was entitled to his pension, a person close to the company said.

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