Former French minister Dati under investigation over Renault-Nissan fees -report

PARIS, July 27 (Reuters) - Former French justice minister Rachida Dati has been placed under formal investigation in France in a probe of the consulting fees she once received from the Renault-Nissan auto alliance, French media reported on Tuesday.

Franceinfo radio and the Canard Enchaine newspaper reported that Dati, who ran as a candidate in Paris’ municipal elections in 2020, would be formally investigated for possible offences including passive corruption.

France’s financial prosecutor’s office and a lawyer for Dati could not immediately be reached for comment. Renault declined to comment.

The deepening investigation comes as French prosecutors pursue several allegations of financial misconduct against the Renault-Nissan alliance’s architect and former chairman Carlos Ghosn, who fled to Lebanon from Japan in late 2019.

Investigating judges visited the former executive in Beirut in May. Ghosn, who has long denied misconduct charges against him, told Reuters he was prepared for a lengthy process to clear his name.

Prosecutors had begun to look into Dati in 2019 and the payments she received from a Netherlands-based joint venture used by the alliance between France’s Renault and Japan’s Nissan.

Renault-Nissan hired Dati, 53, after she stepped down as justice minister in 2009 to stand for the European Parliament.

She has previously denied any irregularities in the fees she received as a consultant between 2010 and 2012, and her lawyers have said everything was reported. (Reporting by Sarah White and Gilles Guillaume Editing by Gareth Jones)