Nissan is trying to block access to homes used by Carlos Ghosn in Beirut and Rio de Janeiro, part of a global network of real estate owned by the automaker and provided to its ousted chairman, according to people familiar with the situation.
Nissan provided Ghosn and his family with use of properties from Brazil to France during his tenure, which came to an abrupt end last month when the executive was arrested in Tokyo over suspected financial crimes.
Prosecutors in Japan indicted Ghosn and Nissan on Monday, accusing him of under-reporting his income. The Franco-Brazilian executive was arrested again in Tokyo on charges that cover a different time period than the earlier charges. That will keep him in detention for at least another 10 days.
While that legal battle plays out in Japan, Nissan has been working to prevent Ghosn’s family from gaining access to a luxury apartment in Rio de Janeiro worth roughly $3 million and a pale-pink mansion in the historic district of Beirut that the automaker bought for $8.75 million in 2012, say the people, who are familiar with the investigation Nissan conducted into Ghosn that laid the groundwork for his arrest.
Locks have already been changed at several properties, the people said. Ghosn’s wife, Carole, was prevented from entering the home in Beirut, they said. In Brazil, Nissan is petitioning a local court’s decision to grant Ghosn’s representatives access to the Rio apartment “due to a high likelihood of evidence being removed or destroyed,” the automaker said in a statement Monday.
Nissan has not been able to enter other homes in Paris and Amsterdam because only Ghosn and his assistant have keys to the properties, according to the people.
Bloomberg has tracked down five of the Nissan properties. While Ghosn was not a frequent visitor of any of the locations -- famously spending much of his time in the company’s private airplane as he jetted among continents -- his presence was noted by neighbors and service providers interviewed by Bloomberg reporters.
It’s unclear if Ghosn’s use of the houses is being probed by Japanese prosecutors, but the people familiar with the matter say they figure in the automaker’s investigation into its former chairman, who brought Nissan back from the brink by creating an alliance with Renault nearly two decades ago.
The locations of the residences were checked against addresses listed in documents viewed by Bloomberg, including transaction and land registry records, and interviews with service providers and people with direct knowledge of the Nissan investigation and Ghosn’s case who requested anonymity to discuss private information.