August 2, 2021

at Renault, Carlos Ghosn saw nothing, heard nothing

He hadn’t been very talkative in public on the “dieselgate” when the scandal erupted in 2015-2016. Carlos Ghosn will have finally spoken to the French justice for more than six hours, Wednesday, May 26, in Beirut, in the Renault shutter of this sprawling affair. The three investigating judges of the Paris judicial court responsible for this case – Romain Manie-Samson, Jean-Luc Gadaud, Adrien Lallement – questioned Mr. Ghosn at length as a witness as the former CEO of the diamond group. Renault is indicted for aggravated deception for a period since 2009, during which Carlos Ghosn was CEO of the group.

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The world was able to consult the minutes of this key hearing, which took place in the court of the Lebanese capital, with the agreement of the local justice; in Lebanon, therefore, where the almighty ex-boss has taken refuge since his flight from Japan at the end of 2019. And Mr. Ghosn pleaded his case in a singular way, without ceasing to highlight his incompetence in terms of motorization diesel and discarding on his subordinates.

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Let us recall the facts. At the end of 2015, the Volkswagen group admits to having introduced a faking software in its diesel vehicles, a device which allowed the full depollution of the gas emissions of the engine during the homologation test, but not in real driving conditions. All manufacturers will quickly be suspected of having done the same. In France, legal investigations were opened in 2017 against Volkswagen, PSA, Fiat Chrysler and Renault. They resulted in indictments this June. For Renault, whose tests have shown very large differences in emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), between homologation and actual running, this concerns diesel engines of Euro 5 and Euro 6b standards, marketed between 2011 and 2018.

“My knowledge of the subject is very limited”

When the French judges arrive in Lebanon, they seek to know whether there existed, under the aegis of the former boss, a deliberate Renault policy consisting in favoring the depollution of the engine, during the homologation, to the detriment of other conditions. But, in the preamble, Carlos Ghosn warns: “I dare to hope that we will not go into extremely specific things, especially since I specify that I was the boss of Renault and Nissan and, from 2016, I also took care of Mitsubishi, so you can imagine the detail of the engines, I did not know it. “ The tone is set. Of the 50 questions from the judges, 25 times, Mr. Ghosn replied that he did not know, that he did not remember, that it was not his responsibility, that he was not involved …

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