SAO PAULO / TOKYO (Reuters) – An apartment in Rio de Janeiro that contains money, artwork and personal belongings to Carlos Ghosn has emerged as the last battlefield between the accused former Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (7201.T) chairman and automaker.
Ghosn seeks to collect "personal belongings, documents, cash, objects and works of art" from the beach apartment, owned by Nissan. The company says that the home could contain evidence of financial default, according to its filing in a Brazilian court last week.
The legal dispute has been hard in recent days, showing that Ghosn and Nissan not only associate in Japan, where Ghosn was arrested last month and was formally charged Monday, but around the world.
Ghosns family achieved a favorable ban last week, which was quickly redirected.
A source in Nissan, Brazil said on Monday afternoon that the Ghosn family still had no access to the apartment. Japanese newspaper Nikkei reported that the family received another favorable court decision on Monday, but a spokesman from Nissan said the company thought this was incorrect.
The previously unreported legal documents from Reuters show the scope of the legal dispute between Ghosn and Nissan regarding access to the apartment, one of several around the world he has been able to use.
Nissan claims that Ghosn, who had been praised for bringing the company back from bankruptcy, underestimated its income with tens of millions of dollars and derivative farms for personal use.
The previously unreported legal documents from Reuters show the scope of the legal dispute between Ghosn and Nissan regarding access to the apartment, one of several around the world he has been able to use. Nissan claims that Ghosn, who had been praised for bringing the company back from the bankruptcy bank, underestimated his income with tens of millions of dollars and derivative farms for personal use.
Read more: Nissan Motor and its Excluded Chairman Carlos Ghosn are allegedly charged with counterfeiting accounts
The Rio apartment contains three safes that Nissan has not yet opened, according to court applications. The car manufacturer found them as it did a review of the apartment after Ghosn's firing, the company said.
The apartment also has "design furniture, artwork and decorative objects," said it. It was purchased by a subsidiary in Nissan at the end of 201[ads1]1 after the car manufacturer launched a factory in the nearby city of Resende.
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The apartment was purchased on the expectation that Ghosn's tours to Brazil, where he was born and maintains citizenship, would be "more constant" after the factory opened, Nissan said in filing.
The apartment is located in the Copacabana area, on a road directly opposite Rio's famous beaches. An apartment in the same building was listed online for 12 million reais ($ 3.07 million).
Monday's accusation in Japan puts the ball back in the right to Nissan's alliance partner, Renault (RENA.PA). The French company, which owns 43.4 percent stake in Nissan, is preparing a 13th board meeting that is likely to assess Ghosn's future as its manager and CEO.
Renault has so far stopped rejecting Ghosn, while repeatedly demanding access to the findings of Nissan's internal investigation that led to his arrest.
Legal action in Brazil started November 29, when a lawyer for Ghosn asked a judge to give him access to the Rio apartment.
Nissan says he would have access to "represent an erratic risk of destruction of potential evidence of crimes allegedly committed." Ghosn has so far been refused access from the Brazilian courts.
A lawyer for Ghosn, Jose Roberto de Castro Neves, told Reuters that he was not aware of the existence of the three safes and that it was "absurd speculation" that they could contain evidence of mistakes.
He's a very smart guy, they said Castro Neves in a short phone call. "If he had done something wrong, he would never leave it in the apartment."
Tokyo prosecutors accused Ghosn Monday of under reporting their income and also charged the car manufacturer, which caused Nissan to be guilty of the alleged financial failure. Ghosn was arrested in Japan on November 19th and is being held in a jail in Tokyo.
Ghosn has not pronounced through his lawyers in Japan, but has denied the claims, according to media reports.