Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn's lawyers said they were surprised to hear that the board of Renault SA has started proceedings against their client based on an audit report.

Ghosn has not had a chance to respond to any of the questions raised by this report, Jean-Yves Le Borgne and Francois Zimeray, lawyers for the former boss of Renault, said in a statement Sunday.

"Shockingly, for several months, elements of this 'audit' have been circulating in the media without Mr. Ghosn ever receiving it," they said.

They said Ghosn is willing to provide "all necessary clarifying information as long as he is given the opportunity to express his view."

Renault and its partner, Nissan Motor Co., led an audit at their jointly-owned RNBV subsidiary which confirmed the existence of financial "deficiencies," Renault said Tuesday, in particular regarding €11 million ($12.5 million) of expenses, most of which were linked to Ghosn.

The relationship between Renault and Nissan has been strained by the fallout from the November arrest of Ghosn in Tokyo.

He denies the allegations, which range from falsification of documents to diverting millions of dollars from Nissan for his personal use.

The €11 million of spending that is being questioned includes Ghosn's air travel and other items, as well as gifts to nonprofit organizations, the statement said.