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Thursday 22 August 2019

Court extends new detention for former Nissan boss Ghosn

Ghosn, 65, was first arrested on November 19 and released March 6 on one billion yen.

Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn (Kyodo News via AP)
Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn (Kyodo News via AP)

By Yuri Kageyama, Associated Press

A Japanese court has approved the detention of former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn until April 14 after his latest arrest over financial misconduct allegations.

The former star executive was taken into custody on Thursday over new allegations that £3.8 million sent by a Nissan subsidiary and meant for an Oman dealership was diverted to a company effectively controlled by Ghosn.

He spent nearly four months in detention and was released last month after meeting stringent bail conditions while he awaits trial over earlier allegations that he understated his compensation in financial documents, had Nissan shoulder his personal investment losses and made dubious payments to a Saudi businessman.

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Carlos Ghosn (Sadayuki Goto/Kyodo News/AP)

Tokyo District Court on Friday approved the initial 10-day detention request from prosecutors, who can seek another 10-day extension before needing to file charges against Ghosn, release him or accuse him of new misconduct that needs investigating.

Stringing out a suspect’s arrest for the full 20 days and then raising new accusations is common in Japan, where it is known as a “rearrest”. Critics say it allows suspects to be grilled by the authorities, resulting in some signing confessions to crimes they never committed.

But it is rare for a suspect to receive bail and then be taken back into custody.

Ghosn’s legal team lodged an appeal with the court on Friday, arguing against the detention, but the court rejected it.

The 65-year-old was first arrested on November 19 and released on March 6 on 1 billion yen (£6.8 million) bail, after two previous rearrests. He says he is innocent of all allegations.

Prosecutors argue the latest accusations are different from the previous ones, but his legal team says they are part of the same scenario of wrongdoing.

In demanding the latest detention, prosecutors argued Ghosn may tamper with evidence related to the new allegations. Prosecutors had earlier fought against bail for Ghosn, a citizen of France, Brazil and Lebanon, arguing he was a flight risk.

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Junichiro Hironaka (Eugene Hoshiko/AP)

Ghosn’s lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka, pointed out that prosecutors have already raided his property and taken everything, leaving little to tamper with.

He accused prosecutors of trying to silence Ghosn, who had tweeted he was planning a news conference next week to tell “the truth about what was happening”.

Ghosn, who led Nissan for two decades before his downfall, said he was not giving up.

“I will not be broken. I am innocent of the groundless charges and accusations against me,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

PA Media

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