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Monday 15 July 2019

Ex-Nissan chairman Ghosn’s bail request rejected

The decision came after Carlos Ghosn promised to wear an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet in a bid to gain release from a Tokyo detention centre.

Carlos Ghosn (Kin Cheung/AP)
Carlos Ghosn (Kin Cheung/AP)

By Yuri Kageyama, Associated Press

A Tokyo court has rejected former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn’s latest request for bail, more than two months after his arrest.

The decision by the Tokyo District Court came a day after Ghosn promised to wear an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet, give up his passport and pay for security guards approved by prosecutors to gain release from a Tokyo detention centre.

The court announced its decision in a statement and his family have said they will appeal.

Ghosn, who led Nissan for two decades, has been in custody since November 19 and had a bail hearing on Monday.

A Tokyo court rejected an earlier request for bail last week.

Ghosn has been charged with falsifying financial reports in under-reporting his compensation from Nissan over eight years, and with breach of trust, centring on allegations he had Nissan temporarily shoulder his personal investment losses and pay a Saudi businessman.

The 64-year-old has said he is innocent, explaining that the alleged compensation was never decided, Nissan did not suffer losses and the payment was for legitimate services.

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A courtroom sketch of former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn in Tokyo (Nobutoshi Katsuyama/Kyodo News via AP)

His wife Carole Ghosn appealed for his release through Human Rights Watch earlier this month, saying Ghosn’s treatment has been harsh and unfair.

Her views echo widespread criticism of Japan’s criminal justice system both inside and outside Japan.

Suspects who insist they are innocent get held longer.

They are held in a cell and routinely grilled daily by investigators without a lawyer present, although lawyers are allowed to visit.

Ghosn’s lawyer Motonari Ohtsuru has acknowledged his release may not come until the trial, which may be six months away.

A date for the trial has not been set.

Nissan officials say an internal investigation has found that Ghosn had schemes to hide his income and that he used company money and assets for personal gain.

A special committee Nissan set up after Ghosn’s arrest to strengthen governance held its first meeting on Sunday.

Seiichiro Nishioka, a former judge and co-chair, told reporters after the meeting that Ghosn had shown questionable ethics, and too much power within the company had been focused on one person.

The committee’s findings are due by late March.

Ghosn’s pay was long a sticking point in Japan, where executives generally get paid far less than their American and other Western counterparts.

He insisted he deserved his higher pay because of his achievements, saying he could have left for another job.

Nissan was on the verge of bankruptcy when alliance partner Renault SA of France sent in Ghosn to help revive it in 1999.

Under Ghosn’s leadership, Nissan turned itself around and became one of the most successful car groups in the world.

Ghosn also helped Nissan pioneer ecological car technology and the Nissan Leaf is the top-selling electric car.

PA Media

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