Renault said to be near first conclusions in Ghosn probe

Ghosn could be indicted in Japan as soon as Monday.

PARIS — Renault is aiming to reach in about a week the first conclusions of an internal probe into whether the pay packages of Carlos Ghosn and other top managers of the automaker were properly disclosed, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

The ongoing investigation focuses on their salaries and other benefits at Renault, where Ghosn remains CEO and chairman, said the people, who asked not to be named because the information is not public. The probe is being led by Eric Le Grand, a former head of security who was recently appointed as an ethics and compliance officer, and another Renault insider, Claude Baland, a 68-year-old former top civil servant, they said.

Ghosn is in custody in Japan after his Nov. 19 arrest on allegations of under-reporting of his income at Nissan, which has since ousted him as chairman. Prosecutors are set to indict him for financial crimes as soon as Monday, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News.

While he remains at the helm of Renault, he has been replaced on an interim basis. Tension within the Franco-Japanese partnership held together by Ghosn for two decades has all but exploded into the open since his incarceration.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire announced Renault’s internal audit on Nov. 25, saying it would take “a few days” and would look into Ghosn’s pay package and his use of company assets. The state is the automaker’s most powerful shareholder and has criticized Ghosn’s compensation for years as too high. It was lowered to 7.4 million euros ($8.4 million) in 2017.

Growing distrust 

Renault executives are suspicious of Nissan’s motives, demanding to see the Japanese automaker’s proof of the allegations against Ghosn, the people said. Nissan offered up a presentation summarizing alleged transgressions, but Renault declined, requesting the presence of lawyers and the full report on the allegations, they said.



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