Tokyo prosecutors indict former Nissan boss Ghosn on fresh charge

Tokyo prosecutors on Friday indicted former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn on a fresh charge of financial misconduct, a move that is expected to lead his lawyers to seek his release on bail following his arrest in November.

The prosecutors have been investigating allegations that Ghosn transferred private investment losses to Nissan amid the 2008 global financial crisis, after indicting the 64-year-old on a charge of understating his remuneration.

Ghosn has shown no signs of backing off from his denial of the allegations, having declared his innocence at an open hearing at the Tokyo District Court on Tuesday that was held at his request to seek an explanation for his prolonged detention.

Ghosn’s defense counsel has said it will file a request to the court to seek his release on bail following the indictment.

But hopes of being granted bail appear dim, with his chief lawyer admitting at a recent press conference that his client could remain in detention for at least another six months until his trial begins, citing the complexity of a case involving documents in both Japanese and English.

Ghosn has remained in custody at the Tokyo Detention House since Tokyo prosecutors arrested him on Nov. 19 for allegedly understating his remuneration in Nissan’s securities reports submitted to Japanese regulators during a five-year period through March 2015.

He has been served a fresh arrest warrant for similar misconduct during the three years through March 2018. The sum of his remuneration that was allegedly underreported totals around 9 billion yen ($ 83 million).

He was served with a third arrest warrant on Dec. 21 for allegedly shifting currency swap contract with losses worth 1.85 billion yen to Nissan in 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.

Ghosn admits that the contract was temporarily transferred but said Nissan incurred no losses. He also said the payments to the Saudi businessman, Khaled Al-Juffali, through a Nissan subsidiary was proper compensation in exchange for him taking care of difficult business problems in the Middle East.

The prosecutors, meanwhile, believe Ghosn committed an aggravated breach of trust the moment he transferred the contract to Nissan.

The arrest and detention of Ghosn, once among the most celebrated executives in Japan, has sparked international criticism of Japan’s justice system, which effectively allows suspects to be held indefinitely and questioned without a lawyer present.

Friday marked the last day of Ghosn’s detention period approved by the Tokyo District Court, and prosecutors had to decide whether to indict or release him.

All — Kyodo News+

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