French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said on TV that Renault could be bringing former executive boss Carlos Ghosn to court after finding out about €11 million of dubious expenses.
France has stakes in Renault so this could mean an even bigger headache for the disgraced former CEO who was arrested in Tokyo last November after a Nissan internal probe found him guilty of financial misconduct.
The accusations included appropriating company funds for his personal use and misreporting his income to Japanese authorities to the tune of five billion Japanese yen (€39 million) over five years.
Le Maire told BFM TV on Wednesday that it was now up to judicial authorities to take the next decision.
"The (French) state will hand over all the elements to the judicial authorities and there will be a complaint," Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said in an interview.
"The state will play its role fully as a Renault shareholder. When the state has a shareholding as it does in Renault, its role is to assure that (corporate) governance works well," he added.
Le Maire added that an internal audit conducted by the auto giant found €11 million of questionable expenses linked to Ghosn at the Dutch subsidiary Renault-Nissan B.V. (RNBV).
A press release by the Renault group said the audit's findings “confirmed the existence of deficiencies within RNBV in terms of financial transparency and procedures for monitoring expenditure.”
According to the press release, the expenses they were looking into corresponded to travel expenses for Ghosn, gifts to non-profit organisations and other expenses.
Renault's board members are asking the group's representatives to liaise with their counterparts at Nissan to explore legal action to recover sums paid by the Dutch jointly-owned subsidiary, added the statement.
Ghosn, who has denied all charges, is still awaiting trial in Japan.