Renault audit finds no fraud yet as Ghosn faces key hearing | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 13, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 13, 2019

Renault audit finds no fraud yet as Ghosn faces key hearing

The board of French automaker Renault on Thursday said an ongoing audit into executive pay had found no sign of fraud in the last two years, ahead of a new court appearance in Japan for CEO Carlos Ghosn.

Directors gave no hint in their statement of any deliberations into Ghosn's future at Renault, as the once-towering auto boss faces a fresh hearing that could see him face new fraud charges and more time behind bars.

The Renault meeting comes two days after Ghosn made his first court appearance over alleged financial impropriety during his years as head of the carmaker's alliance partner Nissan.

Renault's board said an independent review had looked into the compensation of the group's executive committee during the financial years 2017 and 2018 "and has concluded that it is both in compliance with applicable laws and free from any fraud".

But the board statement added that the audit would continue, with previous years scrutinised as it progresses.

Ghosn, who has been Renault CEO since 2005, has been languishing in a Tokyo detention centre for more than 50 days as he fights multiple allegations of financial misconduct.

The 64-year-old has been formally charged with under-declaring his income by tens of millions of dollars in an apparent bid to quash accusations he was overpaid.

He also faces questioning in connection with alleged attempts to transfer personal investment losses to Nissan and making unnecessary payments to a Saudi associate from company funds.

Ghosn's requests Tuesday to be released before trial were rejected by a judge who declared he was a flight risk.

One of his lawyers later conceded that Ghosn could spend a further six months behind bars before his case comes to trial.

Japanese media reports have suggested new charges could be levied against him on Friday, which could ensure he remains jailed.

He may be accused of understating his salary from 2015 to 2018, three years more than the original charge that he under-reported some five billion yen ($44 million) in income over five years from 2010.

He could also face charges for breach of trust, reports say.

The claims have heightened worries over the viability of keeping him on as Renault's chief executive.

French daily Le Figaro reported Thursday that the board meeting was one of several informal gatherings held regularly since Ghosn's arrest to discuss developments in the case.

Nissan said earlier that its board had also met Thursday, when directors had received "an updated report" on its own investigations into Ghosn's alleged misconduct.

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