Nissan's Carlos Ghosn indicted on two new charges

Cornelia Mascio
Gennaio 11, 2019

Ghosn was charged with aggravated breach of trust for temporarily transferring personal investment losses to Nissan in 2008, and for understating his compensation for three years, from 2015 to 2017, a statement from his lawyer Motonari Otsuru showed.

"I have been wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated accusations".

"We believe that there was enough to charge and go to trial", he said of Ghosn's case, "and he will be guilty".

Suspects in Japan are routinely held for months until trials start, and Tokyo prosecutors maintain that Ghosn, a Brazilian-born Frenchman of Lebanese ancestry, is a flight risk.

The maximum penalty for the falsifying financial reports and breach of trust is 15 years in prison, 10 million yen ($89,000) fine, or both.

Kelly, in contrast, was released on bail on December 25 and his lawyer said Friday he has since undergone surgery for spinal stenosis at a hospital in Ibaraki Prefecture and moved to a residence approved by the court.

The charges, which have been widely expected, will add to an earlier charge of under-reporting his income by around half over the five years through March 2015.

The 64-year-old was arrested by prosecutors in the country last November.

One of the most recognisable foreign executives in Japan, Ghosn was led into Tokyo District Court in handcuffs and with a rope around his waist and was noticeably thinner. "In all of my efforts on behalf of the company, I have acted honorably, legally and with the knowledge and approval of the appropriate executives inside the company". His current detention term is scheduled to end on Friday.

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

The allegations relating to criminal breach of trust centre on Ghosn's handling of investment losses and payments made to a Saudi businessperson.

The jet-setting high-flyer who once sparked criticism for his lavish lifestyle has gone from spacious digs in worldwide capitals to a one-man cell.

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

Ghosn then moved his tax domicile to the Netherlands, where the holding company for the Renault-Nissan alliance is incorporated and which does not have a wealth tax, the daily said.

While the two Japanese firms quickly ousted him from leadership roles, Renault has kept him on and its board said on Thursday that an ongoing audit has found no sign of fraud in the last two years.

It said it took the charges filed against the firm "extremely seriously" and was continuing its investigation into the case.

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