Renault boss Ghosn unlikely to be released from jail soon

Prosecutors to indict Ghosn on two new financial misconduct charges - source

10 January 2019 - 10:56 By Reuters and Motoring Staff
Carlos Ghosn's family believes accusations against him are part of a revolt within Nissan against a possible merger with Renault. Picture: REUTERS
Carlos Ghosn's family believes accusations against him are part of a revolt within Nissan against a possible merger with Renault. Picture: REUTERS

TOKYO - Japanese prosecutors plan to indict former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn on two more charges of financial misconduct on Friday, a person with knowledge of the issue said, bringing the total number to three.

The man who brought Nissan back from the brink of bankruptcy nearly 20 years ago will remain in detention until Friday at the earliest (when his current maximum detainment period expires). He is likely to be rearrested by prosecutors, as they’ve done twice already since his November 19 arrest.

Ghosn is likely to be formally charged with aggravated breach of trust for temporarily transferring personal investment losses to Nissan in 2008, as well as for understating his compensation for three years through 2018.

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

At a court appearance this week, Ghosn said all accusations against him were "meritless" and "unsubstantiated".

The Nikkei daily earlier reported that prosecutors planned to charge Ghosn for aggravated breach of trust on Friday. Both the Tokyo Prosecutors Office and Nissan declined to comment on the issues when contacted by Reuters.

Ghosn has been in detention since his initial arrest on November 19. While he has said that he has been "unfairly detained", the Tokyo District Court earlier this week rejected an appeal by his lawyers to end his detention.

It is uncommon for defendants in Japan who deny charges to be granted bail ahead of trial, a practice that has drawn widespread criticism, including from Ghosn's defence team.

A member of Ghosn's Japan-based legal team told Reuters that Ghosn did not attend an interrogation session scheduled for Thursday due to a fever, and that he had been advised by a detention centre physician to rest.

Another member of the legal team told Reuters that they would apply for bail after Ghosn's current detention period ends on Friday, but that his release would come on Tuesday at the earliest should the court accept the application.

Ghosn could remain in jail until a court date is finalised, which could be more than six months away.

The French-Lebanese-Brazilian remains at the head of Renault, but has been removed from his Chairman’s seat at both Nissan and Mitsubishi.

Ghosn’s family has released a statement insisting he was the victim of an executive coup by Nissan board members, part of a revolt within Nissan against exploring a possible merger with Renault.

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