Ghosn's Family Takes Files From Rio Apartment, Nissan Says

(Bloomberg) -- A Brazilian court granted the family of jailed auto executive Carlos Ghosn entry into a luxury apartment in Rio de Janeiro owned by Nissan Motor Co. and allowed documents to be removed, according to the Japanese carmaker, which disputed the decision.

“Personal effects were removed and the safes were opened,” Nissan said Friday in a statement describing how representatives of the family, their body guards, company lawyers and court clerks entered the flat the previous day.

The carmaker’s representatives were unable to view two plastic folders containing documents taken from a wardrobe, one with the Nissan label and the other marked with the name of its factory in Brazil, the company said, adding that the files were suspected to be of a “corporate nature.”

The legal wrangling over the Rio apartment is part of the globe-spanning fallout from Ghosn’s Nov. 19 arrest and subsequent indictment in Japan for financial crimes related to the under-reporting of his income at Nissan. With Ghosn in a Tokyo prison, Nissan has been trying to prevent his family from accessing homes used by the executive in Rio and Beirut, part of a network of expensive real estate owned by the carmaker, Bloomberg has reported. The Rio flat is worth about $3 million.

Nissan’s representatives were also unable to view the contents of the safes inside the Rio apartment, according to its statement, calling the court rulings to this effect “highly unusual.” A lawyer for Ghosn wasn’t available for immediate comment.

“Nissan believes that the documents removed from the Rio apartment last night were not personal in nature,” the company said. It had challenged a local court’s decision to grant Ghosn’s representatives access to the apartment “due to a high likelihood of evidence being removed or destroyed,” it said previously.

Ghosn was charged for understating his salary at Nissan during the five years until March 2015, and also was re-arrested on similar charges covering the three fiscal years through March 2018. The re-arrest means the 64-year-old globe-trotting car executive won’t get bail for now. Ghosn has denied wrongdoing.

His incarceration has brought tension to the forefront of the three-company Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance led by Ghosn and Renault has started its own internal probe into his pay packages. Preliminary conclusions found no wrongdoing.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.