PARIS (Reuters) – French prosecutors have stepped up their investigation into alleged misappropriation of funds at Renault (RENA.PA) by former boss Carlos Ghosn, saying a judge had now been assigned to the case to launch a formal investigation.
The prosecutor’s office in Nanterre, on the outskirts of Paris, had since last year been looking into a party Ghosn had thrown for his wife at the sumptuous Versailles palace among other financial dealings.
It said in a statement on Wednesday a judge would now examine several charges linked to Renault and levelled at an unnamed person or people. A judicial source confirmed that Ghosn was among them.
A lawyer for Ghosn said he welcomed the opportunity to give his version of the events.
“We will provide our explanations to the designated magistrate after we can finally have access to the case file,” lawyer Jean-Yves Le Borgne told Reuters.
Ghosn – now in Lebanon after he last month fled prosecution in Japan on financial misconduct charges – has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Reuters reported in January that judges, who have wider powers than investigators to pursue a criminal case, were set to get involved, potentially bringing prosecution a step closer.