The automakers suspect that Beirut-based Good Faith Investments, known as GFI, facilitated money transfers to a firm connected to Carlos and Anthony Ghosn.
Monday 22, April 2019
(Bloomberg) --A Lebanese company is at the centre of alleged payments linking Nissan Motor Company and its partner Renault to a firm related to jailed former auto titan Carlos Ghosn and his son.
Ealier this week, Japanese prosecutors indicted Carlos Ghosn on charges of misdirecting Nissan funds for personal use, after arresting and detaining him again earlier in the month.
The architect behind what is the world’s biggest auto alliance, Ghosn has denied the latest charges, which follow earlier indictments for transferring personal trading losses to Nissan and under-reporting his income.
The shock downfall in Tokyo of the former chairman of Nissan and Renault has rattled the auto union between the two companies and smaller partner Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, amid a period of disruption in the global car industry.
Prosecutors allege Ghosn syphoned off millions of dollars from funds Nissan sent to an overseas distributor between 2015 and 2018.
While Japanese authorities have not disclosed the name of the distributor, investigations by Nissan and Renault are said to have found that the automakers made payments to Oman-based Suhail Bahwan Automotive Group, known as SBA, under the guise of marketing incentives.
The Japanese automaker filed a criminal complaint against Ghosn for allegedly deploying company funds for personal use.
Nissan and Renault’s contributions to SBA over consecutive years were made through a reserve fund overseen by Ghosn, which is not normal practise for payments of this type, according to the people.
SBA is then suspected of having made payments to the Lebanese holding company GFI through a person named Divyendu Kumar, a senior executive at the parent company of SBA.
A filing by Beirut-based GFI shows he is also chairman and majority owner of that company.
Ghosn asked for money transfers from GFI to Shogun Investments, which counts his son Anthony among its managers. Between 2015 and 2018, GFI transferred more than $25 million to Shogun Investments, which was set up by Ghosn as an investment vehicle.
Renault investigators suspect money from the carmaker was used for Anthony Ghosn’s fintech startup, Shogun Enterprises and as well as the purchase of a yacht. Additionally, Renault earlier this month flagged questionable payments to a distributor in the Middle East and said the findings could lead to legal action in France.