Published: Sun, January 13, 2019
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Tokyo prosecutors indict former Nissan boss Ghosn on fresh charges

Tokyo prosecutors indict former Nissan boss Ghosn on fresh charges

According to the indictments and other sources, Ghosn transferred financial derivatives contracts with appraisal losses worth some ¥1.85 billion to Nissan from an asset management company for him in October 2008.

Ghosn has remained in custody at the Tokyo Detention House since Tokyo prosecutors arrested him on November 19 along with close American aide Greg Kelly, who has been released on bail, for allegedly understating his remuneration in Nissan securities reports submitted to Japanese regulators during a five-year period through March 2015. It also reported, citing unidentified investigation sources, that Ghosn had discussed the possibility of extending a three billion yen (S$37.5 million) loan to a business run by a Saudi acquaintance who later provided collateral for a personal investment.

A prosecutor's office spokesperson told AFP that the charges against Ghosn carried a maximum prison sentence of 15 years. The former auto tycoon has been charged with aggravated breach of trust, and with violating a financial law by underreporting his compensation.

One of the most recognisable foreign executives in Japan, Ghosn was led into Tokyo District Court in handcuffs and with a rope around his waist and was noticeably thinner.

Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, Mr Otsuru said he expected prosecutors to take at least six months to prepare for trial.

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The new charges came only days after Ghosn appeared at a Tokyo court seeking an explanation for his prolonged detention and declared his innocence.

The arrest and detention of Ghosn, once among the most celebrated executives in Japan, has sparked worldwide criticism of Japan's justice system, which effectively allows suspects to be held indefinitely and questioned without a lawyer present.

If and when Ghosn will be out on bail, his movements are likely to be restricted to his home or a hotel, and he'll need a court permission to leave the country, legal experts have said. The court rejected an appeal by Ghosn's lawyers for his release from detention, and on Thursday turned down another appeal.

On Tuesday, Ghosn, a Brazilian-born Frenchman of Lebanese ancestry, told a Tokyo court he was innocent, in his first public appearance since his November 19 arrest.

The jet-setting high-flyer who once sparked criticism for a lavish lifestyle was initially kept in a tiny cell and slept on Japanese-style tatami mats.

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He has reportedly complained about the rice-based diet at the detention center, with his family saying he has lost up to 20 kilos (44 pounds).

Tokyo prosecutors on Friday indicted ousted Nissan Motor Co.

In a statement, Nissan said that Munoz had "elected to resign" from the company, effective immediately.

Nissan said Friday it has filed its own criminal complaint against its former chief "on the basis of Ghosn's misuse of a significant amount of the company's funds".

It said it took the charges filed against the firm "extremely seriously" and was continuing its investigation into the case.

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