Ghosn hit with more charges as Renault audit finds no fraud

Lloyd Doyle
January 11, 2019

Prosecutors have further indicted him for aggravated breach of trust and a separate charge of understating his income for another three years, after already facing a charge of doing the latter between 2010 and 2015.

His associate, Greg Kelly, another Nissan executive and the carmarker as a legal entity were also charged in relation to the underreporting of income.

Ghosn, who denies the allegations, has shown no signs of backing down. His hearing at a court in Tokyo on Tuesday was his first public appearance since then.

Ghosn and his close aide Greg Kelly were initially arrested on November 19 on suspicion of understating the former chairman's 10 billion yen remuneration by roughly 5 billion yen in Nissan's securities reports during the five years through March 2015.

"In general in such cases in Japan, it is indeed the case that bail is not approved before the first trial does take place", he said, adding that it could be six months before the case comes before a judge.

The second charge against him alleges that the under-reporting continued for another three years.

Ghosn on Tuesday mounted a systematic denial of all the allegations, concluding that he had been "wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated accusations".

Ghosn admits the contract was temporarily transferred but said Nissan incurred no losses.

He could also face charges for breach of trust, reports say.

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 Nikkei daily earlier reported that prosecutors planned to charge Ghosn for aggravated breach of trust on Friday.

According to one of his lawyers, Ghosn developed a high fever earlier this week while in detention, but his health has improved.

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

His lawyers, in an opinion submitted to the court, argued that Ghosn's actions, including using Nissan's financial standing as collateral to secure currency exchange swaps, were undertaken with the approval of Nissan's board and officers. "We are fearful and very anxious his recovery will be complicated while he continues to endure such harsh conditions and unfair treatment", she said. They were unable to do so on Thursday as a doctor at the Tokyo Detention House said he needed some rest.

Even his main lawyer Motonari Otsuru has acknowledged the 64-year-old executive has little chance of being released soon, describing it as "very difficult" to win bail before the case goes to trial. Before his arrest, he had been scheduled to undergo surgery on December 7 in Tennessee, according to his family.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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