ZURICH/GENEVA – Carlos Ghosn has banked with Switzerland’s Julius Baer Group Ltd. for years and the private lender must make a decision on whether to report the link to authorities, according to Inside Paradeplatz.
The fugitive former Nissan Motor Co. boss was persuaded to become a client of Julius Baer by then-Chief Executive Officer Boris Collardi, the Swiss banking blog reported Monday without citing sources or when the relationship started. A spokesman for Zurich-based Julius Baer declined comment “on alleged or existing client relationships.”
The extent and whereabouts of Ghosn’s finances have become a key piece of the puzzle of how he managed to flee Japan last week in a carefully orchestrated escape that may have cost millions of dollars to arrange. He forfeited about $15 million in bail by departing the country and traveled by private jet to Lebanon, where he has citizenship.
Interpol has since issued a Red Notice requesting his arrest, according to Justice Minister Masako Mori.
Ghosn faces charges of financial misconduct and breach of trust. He has said the allegations are false and were trumped up by the automaker’s other executives, as well as Japanese prosecutors and government officials who opposed his plans to more deeply integrate Nissan with French partner Renault SA.
A spokesman for Switzerland’s banking regulator, Finma, declined comment on whether it is looking into any aspect of Ghosn’s banking ties with the country.
Japan has previously sought legal assistance from Switzerland in relation to Ghosn.
The Swiss Federal Office of Justice, which coordinates international requests, received an appeal from the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office on Jan. 14, a spokeswoman for the Swiss agency said Monday.
It examined the request before forwarding it to the Zurich prosecutor’s office on March 8.