Sunday 18 August 2019

'I will not be broken' vows Ghosn as he is rearrested

Quizzed: Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn leaves his lawyer’s office in Tokyo. Photo: AP
Quizzed: Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn leaves his lawyer’s office in Tokyo. Photo: AP

Ma Jie and Ichiro Suzuki

The drama surrounding car executive Carlos Ghosn has erupted again, with Japanese prosecutors rearresting him on fresh allegations that he used millions of dollars from Nissan for his own purposes.

Authorities arrived at Mr Ghosn's Tokyo apartment shortly before 6am to detain him on suspicion of aggravated breach of trust, using company money funnelled through an intermediary for personal purposes.

They're the most serious charges yet against Mr Ghosn, who had been free on bail for less than a month. "My arrest this morning is outrageous and arbitrary," he said. "It is part of another attempt by some individuals at Nissan to silence me by misleading the prosecutors. Why arrest me except to try to break me? I will not be broken."

Mr Ghosn was arrested because of the risk of flight and destruction of evidence, said deputy chief prosecutor Shin Kukimoto. He was released on March 6 on bail of 1bn yen (€8m).

The arrest came a day after the former chairman of Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi announced he would hold a tell-all press conference.

Renault and Nissan uncovered payments made under Mr Ghosn that allegedly went toward corporate jets, a yacht, and his son's startup, leading the French carmaker to alert authorities about potential wrongdoing, people familiar with the matter said. On Wednesday, Renault said some expenses "involve questionable and concealed practices and violations of the group's ethical principles".

Prosecutors took Mr Ghosn's phone, notebooks and other items in his possession as evidence, as well as his wife's phone and passport, according his lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka. The rearrest was "extremely inappropriate" and designed to put pressure on his client, the lawyer said.

Another lengthy stay in prison could make it harder for Mr Ghosn to prepare for his trial on charges of financial misconduct, and refocus international attention on Japan's criminal justice system.

Mr Ghosn, who was arrested on November 19 and jailed for more than 100 days, has vigorously denied accusations of transferring personal trading losses to the carmaker and under-reporting his income.

He was arrested just as he was preparing to tell his side of the story. He had tweeted that he planned to hold a news conference on April 11 to "tell the truth" about accusations against him. He has prepared a video statement, which will be released at some point, his lawyer said.

Bloomberg

Irish Independent

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