New indictments for ex Nissan boss Ghosn, who remains in detention

Irving Hamilton
January 13, 2019

His close aide and former Nissan Representative Director Greg Kelly and the company itself have also been indicted on this charge.

Ghosn and Kelly have denied all charges.

In a court hearing on Tuesday, Ghosn denied the accusations, calling them "meritless" and "unsubstantiated".

The twists and turns of the Ghosn case have riveted Japan and the business world and more than 1,000 people queued up from the early hours to get one of only 14 seats in the public gallery on Tuesday.

Ghosn's lawyer Motonari Ohtsuru filed a request that Ghosn be released on bail.

Ghosn was initially arrested on November 19 last year for allegedly understating about 5 billion yen (45 million dollars) of his 10-billion-yen compensation during the five years through March 2015.

On Friday, a fresh charge claimed he understated his compensation for another three years. Including the latest charge, a total of over ¥9.1 billion in Ghosn's pay was allegedly understated in eight years.

He was served with a fresh arrest warrant on December 21 for allegedly shifting a private currency swap contract with losses worth 1.85 billion yen to Nissan in October 2008 and causing damage to the company by having it pay $14.7 million to a Saudi businessman, who guaranteed credit for Ghosn, in the following years.

Nissan said an internal investigation began in the middle of a year ago after whistleblowers came forward.

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He said the compensation was never decided on, the investment deal did not result in any losses to Nissan, and the payments to the Saudi businessman was for legitimate services related to dealers and investments in the Gulf.

Reuters had reported earlier on Friday that the Japanese automaker was looking into decisions made in the United States by Munoz who led Nissan's North American operations from 2016 to 2018.

The arrest and detention of Ghosn, who remains CEO and chairman of Nissan's capital alliance partner Renault SA, has sparked global criticism of Japan's justice system, which effectively allows a suspect to be held indefinitely and questioned without a lawyer present.

Ghosn led Nissan Motor Co. for two decades, salvaging the Japanese automaker from bankruptcy.

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

However, in one piece of rare positive news for the once-revered tycoon, the Tokyo District Court turned down a prosecutors' bid to prevent family visits, meaning he should be allowed contact with his loved ones.

"I am pleading with the Japanese authorities to provide us with any information at all about my husband's health. We are fearful and very anxious his recovery will be complicated while he continues to endure such harsh conditions and unfair treatment", she said.

"We believe that there was enough to charge and go to trial", he said of Ghosn's case, "and he will be guilty". They were unable to do so on Thursday as a doctor at the Tokyo Detention House said he needed some rest.

His lawyers have requested bail.

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