Former Nissan chairman Ghosn indicted on new charges

Roman Schwartz
January 13, 2019

The former chairman of the Nissan Motor Co, Carlos Ghosn, was indicted on two new charges of financial misconduct on Friday, adding to existing legal challenges.

Ghosn has remained in custody at the Tokyo Detention House since Tokyo prosecutors arrested him on November 19 along with close American aide Greg Kelly, who has been released on bail, for allegedly understating his remuneration in Nissan securities reports submitted to Japanese regulators during a five-year period through March 2015.

In a court appearance on Tuesday, his first public appearance since his arrest, Ghosn denied the accusations, calling them "meritless" and said he was "wrongly accused and unfairly detained".

Carlos Ghosn was hit with a third set of charges on Friday.

Ghosn has strongly denied the allegations against him.

An appeal to end his detention was also rejected. He is also suspected of breach of trust, in having Nissan shoulder investment losses in foreign exchange transactions, and making questionable payments to a Saudi businessman.

Ghosn had been already indicted for underreporting his pay for the five years through fiscal 2014.

Ghosn's lawyer said earlier this week that his client would likely be held until the trial which could begin in about six months.

This week he suffered a fever that prompted prosecutors to suspend their interrogations, though his lawyer said Friday his temperature had gone back down.

He spoke in a strong voice and passionately declared a "genuine love and appreciation for Nissan", saying he had acted "honourably, legally and with the knowledge and approval of the appropriate executives inside the company".

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Ghosn's prolonged detention has also raised foreign awareness of the Japanese justice system that has come under fire internationally for allowing suspects to be detained nearly indefinitely.

At his dramatic court appearance on Tuesday, Ghosn appeared to have lost a lot of weight in detention but otherwise seemed in good health.

Motonari Otsuru confirmed that Ghosn had been indicted on the fresh allegations and said he would "shortly request his release on bail".

At the court, Ghosn said his actions were backed by managers inside the company as well as external lawyers.

Visits from lawyers, family and friends are strictly controlled by prosecutors in Japan, making it hard for suspects to establish a defense or give their side of the story to the media.

His wife Carole Ghosn issued a statement overnight out of Paris, expressing concern over his sickness.

"We are fearful and very anxious his recovery will be complicated while he continues to endure such harsh conditions and unfair treatment", she said in a statement.

On Thursday, the board of the French firm said an investigation into executive pay had so far shown no signs of fraud.

According to Ghosn's defense counsel, Ghosn has had a high fever since Wednesday evening but his condition has improved.

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