The Strategist

Ghosn case reveals new fact about Silicon Valley investments

08/27/2019 - 06:50

Former Head of Nissan Motor, Carlos Ghosn, built a parallel business with his son as an investor in Silicon Valley, using the millions of dollars he received from the top manager of Nissan's partner company from Oman, The Wall Street Journal writes.

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth
The actions, which were known only to a small circle of people, may entail the most serious accusations in the framework of a large-scale investigation that had previously discovered Ghosn's financial crimes.

Carlos Ghosn has been under investigation in Japan since November 2018. He has been charged on several counts, including underreporting Nissan's remuneration in regulatory reporting by more than $ 80 million in eight years.

Details published by WSJ show how Nissan's Omani partner’s cash flowed into a fund that invested in Silicon Valley startups. When Nissan transferred $ 10 million in favor of an Omani distributor, Ghosn returned $ 5 million from this sum through accounts with a company registered in Lebanon.

The publication refers to documents on bank transfers, as well as information received from more than 20 people close to Ghosn or informed of the ongoing investigation.

According to WSJ, Ghosn was directly involved in managing the investment business, giving orders for multi-million dollar transactions, including financing an Asian taxi service.

Sources say that Ghosn mixed family ties and personal business interests with the business of the public companies he headed. During the period when Ghosn was headed by Nissan, the Japanese automaker made a number of inappropriate deals with his friends or acquaintances in several countries in the Middle East and Asia, sources said.

According to them, he also did not inform Nissan's board of directors that he had started an investment business together with a top manager of the Omani client of the company.

Ghosn denies all allegations. His spokesman said that "the prosecutor’s office, in partnership with Nissan, has launched a campaign to attack Ghosn, seeking to tarnish his reputation with trumped-up charges."

The fact that Ghosn’s investments were held in the sector is “normal and correct,” he noted.

According to sources, the ex-head of Nissan also owned a wine business in Lebanon, a large stake in two Lebanese banks and invested in Middle Eastern real estate. In addition, Ghosn had established relationships in the Middle East and India with certain people who could help him develop Nissan's business in these regions.