Former French minister Rachida Dati charged with corruption in Ghosn case


France’s financial crimes unit said on Tuesday it had charged prominent right-wing Rachida Dati, a former minister and close ally of ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, over her dealings with disgraced former Renault chief Carlos Ghosn.

She is charged with both “passive corruption by a person with an elective mandate” and of “taking advantage of abuse of power” in relation to advisory work she did for Ghosn from 2010 to 2012, when she was also an MP in the European Parliament.

According to a source close to the investigation, Dati received 900,000 euros ($1.06 million) in attorney fees during that period.

The investigation seeks to determine whether this was purely for legal work or whether she was actually lobbying, which would be illegal for European lawmakers.

According to the newspaper Le Monde, that contract obliges her to assist in Renault’s international expansion, especially in the Middle East and North Africa. That called for keeping the work strictly confidential, Le Monde said.

That, who is now mayor of the 7th arrondissement of Paris for the right-wing party The Republicans (LR) and was sometimes tipped as a future presidential candidate, was justice minister in Sarkozy’s government between 2007 and 2009 and was also his spokesperson for the election campaign. .

Since the summer of 2019, three judges have been examining contracts signed by the Dutch subsidiary of Renault Nissan when Ghosn was CEO of the group.

Data was questioned in the case for 16 hours in November but was not formally charged, instead given his assisted witness status.

Earlier this month, however, investigating magistrates questioned her again and brought the charges.

Ghosn wanted by Interpol

Dati’s lawyers, Olivier Baratelli, Olivier Pardo and Francis Teitgen, declined to comment when approached by AFP.

However, her defense team had previously argued that none of Dati’s earnings had been kept secret and that a three-year statute of limitations should apply.

The magistrates of the financial crimes division disagreed and continued their case initiated by a legal complaint from a Renault shareholder.

Ghosn, who had a long-standing reputation as a top executive in the auto industry, fell out of favor in November 2018 when he was arrested in Japan on charges of financial misconduct and spent 130 days in detention before being released on bail and self-destructed in late 2019. smuggled out of the country.

Ghosn, wanted by Interpol, is now in Lebanon, where he was questioned as a witness by French magistrates.

Dat’s former boss Sarkozy has himself faced a series of investigations into his affairs since he lost his presidential immunity after his sole term in office from 2007 to 2012.

Last month, prosecutors demanded a six-month jail term for the former president in his trial for campaign finance violations in his 2012 reelection bid.

In March, he became the first post-war president of France to receive a custodial sentence when judges sentenced him to three years, of which two years were probation, for corruption and influencing attempts to obtain favors from a judge.