Former Nissan chairman Ghosn indicted on new charges

Kenny Grant
January 14, 2019

In the court hearing, Ghosn countered that all of the transactions represented fair compensation for business completed by associates, including $14.7 million paid to Saudi businessman Khaled Al-Juffali.

According to the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission, both Ghost and Nissan are alleged to have under-reported Ghosn's pay package in the company's securities reports presented to Japanese regulators.

His legal team said they would file a bail application to free Ghosn, but they acknowledged that he is unlikely to be released, as it is uncommon for defendants in Japan who deny their charges to be granted bail ahead of trial, which in Ghosn's case will be in about six months.

The auto executive's Japanese lawyers applied for bail soon after the new indictment on Friday. His detention period for the breach of trust allegations would have expired Friday if charges had not been filed.

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.

Ghosn's lawyers are now able to meet him.

Ghosn, once the most celebrated executives in the auto industry and the anchor of Nissan's alliance with Renault, remains in custody in a Tokyo detention center since his initial arrest in late November.

A prosecutor's office spokeswoman said the charges against Ghosn carry a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.

Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa told reporters later in the day that an ongoing internal probe into the alleged misconduct by Ghosn, who holds Brazilian, French and Lebanese nationality, will be conducted together with Renault.

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Ghosn is also accused of shifting approximately 1.85 billion yen in investment losses he suffered himself to Nissan in October 2008. Nissan has dismissed Kelly from his role as a representative director.

He spoke in a strong voice and said he had acted "honourably, legally and with the knowledge and approval of the appropriate executives inside the company".

Prosecutors say Ghosn underreported his income by about 5 billion yen ($44 million) over five years through 2015.

Directors gave no hint in their statement of any deliberations into Ghosn's future at Renault.

As chairman of Nissan, Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp 7211.T , the globe-trotting Ghosn had access to a string of residences around the world, including additional homes in Beirut and Rio de Janeiro.

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

According to one of his lawyers, Ghosn developed a high fever earlier this week while in detention, but his health has improved. "We are fearful and very anxious his recovery will be complicated while he continues to endure such harsh conditions and unfair treatment".

Ghosn's spectacular downfall following his arrest in November has shaken the global auto industry and strained the alliance he built between Nissan (NSANY), Renault and Mitsubishi Motors (MMTOF).

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