New fresh charges are indicted against Ghosn | Eurasia Diary -

27 June, Thursday

New fresh charges are indicted against Ghosn

Former Nissan head says he is innocent, meaning he could remain in detention until trial begins

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Carlos Ghosn could remain in detention for several months after prosecutors indicted him on two new charges of financial misconduct, days after the former Nissan chairman insisted he had been wrongly accused.

Ghosn was charged with aggravated breach of trust and for understating his compensation by 4.3 billion yen for three years through March 2018, the Nikkei business daily said.

He had already been charged for underreporting his pay by around 5 billion yen ($46m million) between 2010-15.

The charge of aggravated breach of trust relates to allegations that he attempted to transfer 1.85 billion yen in personal investment losses to Nissan in 2008.

Ghosn has repeatedly denied the allegations.

The 64-year-old, who led Nissan from near-bankruptcy two decades ago and transformed it into one of the world’s most successful automakers, reportedly came down with a fever on Wednesday evening and was unable to undergo questioning, a day after he issued a public rebuttal of the allegations against him during a special court hearing.

His wife, Carole Ghosn, said authorities in Japan were refusing to provide details about his condition or allow his family to talk to medical staff at a Tokyo detention centre, where he has been held for more than 50 days.

“I recently learned that my husband is suffering from a high fever at the detention centre in Tokyo, but my information is limited to news reports as no one in his family has been allowed to contact him since 19 November,” she said in a statement. “We are fearful and very worried his recovery will be complicated while he continues to endure such harsh conditions and unfair treatment.”

Reports on Friday said Ghosn was recovering.

He is unlikely to be released on bail as long as he continues to proclaim his innocence, meaning he could remain in detention until his trial begins.

No date has been set for the trial, but his head lawyer, Motonari Otsuru, said his client could have to wait as long as six months before his case is heard in court. “Generally speaking, it’s extremely rare for a court to grant bail before a trial begins,” Otsuru told reporters. “That’s our main concern, and I think Mr. Ghosn is very troubled by this.”

Ghosn’s arrest, along with Greg Kelly, a former Nissan executive who is alleged to have helped Ghosn underreport his salary, has cast doubt on the future of Nissan’s three-way alliance with Renault and Mitsubishi Motors.

The two Japanese firms sacked Ghosn days after his arrest, but he has been kept on as head of Renault. On Thursday, the French carmaker said it had found no evidence of illegal or fraudulent payments to Ghosn over the past two years, adding that it was continuing its audit.

Ghosn’s rapid fall from grace has captivated Japan, with more than 1,000 people queuing to secure one of the 14 seats in the public gallery at his special hearing on Tuesday.

A gaunt-looking Ghosn, who was led into the courtroom in handcuffs and with a rope tied around his waist, spoke of his “genuine love and appreciation” for Nissan and insisted that he had acted “honourably, legally and with the knowledge and approval of the appropriate executives inside the company”.

“I have always acted with integrity and have never been accused of any wrongdoing in my several-decade professional career,” he told a packed courtroom in his first public appearance since his arrest on 19 November.

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

The length of Ghosn’s detention has prompted criticism of Japan’s criminal justice system and the power of the country’s public prosecutors, who can rearrest suspects several times over different allegations and question them for up to eight hours a day without a lawyer present.

Ghosn, who has complained about the cold and the detention centre’s rice-based diet, spends his free time reading but has reportedly been denied notepaper to write letters to his family.

He was initially kept in a tiny cell and slept on a futon, but has since been moved to a bigger cell with a bed, according to his lawyers.

The Guardian

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