About 40 companies were registered to a unit of a building in Lebanon that was connected with former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn’s alleged misuse of the automaker’s funds.

They include investment company GFI and another investment firm Phoinos Investment that owns Ghosn’s luxury residence in the capital of Beirut.

All 40 are believed to be shell companies.

The Special Investigation Department of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office apparently regards the room as a stronghold of Ghosn’s suspected misappropriation of Nissan funds for personal use.

Ghosn, 65, was rearrested April 4 on suspicion of sending a total of about 1.7 billion yen ($15.3 million) from Nissan Middle East, a Nissan subsidiary in the United Arab Emirates, to Suhail Bahwan Automobiles (SBA), a dealership in Oman, during a period from 2015 to 2018 and having SBA send about 560 million yen of that amount to GFI, which is effectively owned by Ghosn.

An SBA executive of Indian nationality and believed to have been in charge of managing Ghosn’s funds allegedly sent the 560 million yen from his personal account to GFI through several accounts.

In April 2015, GFI was registered to a unit of the seven-story Beirut building. In those days, it was used as an office of a Lebanese lawyer serving as an aide to Ghosn. The lawyer and the Indian executive were registered as founders of GFI.

The lawyer died in August 2017. When an Asahi Shimbun reporter visited the unit in February 2019, a woman working in the same building said, “The office closed about three months after the lawyer died.”

The reporter looked further into the unit and found that about 40 companies were registered there.

One of the 40 was Phoinos Investment that owned a high-class residence in the capital purchased by an overseas subsidiary of Nissan and offered to Ghosn.

The founder of the investment company was also the Lebanese lawyer. The head of the secretariat of Nissan, a Japanese, was in charge of managing the investment company's financial affairs.

The Japanese individual was allegedly deeply involved in Ghosn’s suspected financial misconduct and received a reduction in his or her criminal liability by plea-bargaining with prosecutors of the Special Investigation Department.

The Asahi Shimbun reporter asked a Lebanese whose name is listed in the registrations of Phoinos Investment and GFI about the two firms, to which the individual said cautiously, "A reporter? Are you (a person connected to) Nissan? I can't comment.”

According to related sources, the Special Investigation Department confiscated a personal computer from the luxury residence in Beirut through Nissan in 2018 and checked a large number of e-mails.

Based on Ghosn’s e-mail exchanges with people from the Lebanese lawyer’s office and the Indian executive of SBA, the prosecutors were thus apparently able to trace Ghosn’s personal use of Nissan funds.

A person related to Nissan called the flow of the funds “international money laundering.”

It was also confirmed that funds were sent from GFI to “Beauty Yacht,” headed by Ghosn’s wife, Carole, and “Shogun,” an investment company set up by Ghosn’s son in the United States.

Beauty Yacht was established in 2015 in the British territory of the Virgin Islands, which is known as a tax haven. It was also initially headed by the Lebanese lawyer.

The company bought a cruiser priced at about 1.5 billion yen in or before 2016 and named it “Shacho-go” (President's ship), which Ghosn’s family used.