Carlos Ghosn: Ex-Nissan chair faces 'two new charges'

11 January, 2019, 23:53 | Author: Regina Silva

Nissan's former chairman Carlos Ghosn has recovered from a fever, his lawyer Motonari Ohtsuru said Friday as the 64-year-old executive's latest detention period was set to expire.

Ghosn and his close aide Greg Kelly were initially arrested on November 19 on suspicion of understating the former chairman's 10 billion yen remuneration by roughly 5 billion yen in Nissan's securities reports during the five years through March 2015.

Kelly and Nissan were not charged with breach of trust. Another accusation - that he rolled personal investment losses onto Nissan - came to no cost to the company, Ghosn said.

One of his lawyers later conceded that Ghosn could spend a further six months behind bars before his case comes to trial. His hearing at a court in Tokyo on Tuesday was his first public appearance since then. But the court rejected that request.

He spoke in a strong voice and passionately declared a "genuine love and appreciation for Nissan", saying he had acted "honourably, legally and with the knowledge and approval of the appropriate executives inside the company".

He said the compensation was never decided on, the investment deal never resulted in any losses to Nissan, and the payments to the Saudi businessman were for legitimate services related to dealers and investments in the Gulf.

Two people familiar with the matter said he was not sufficiently cooperating with Nissan's probe against Ghosn.

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French daily Le Figaro reported on Thursday that the board meeting was one of several informal gatherings held regularly since Ghosn's arrest to discuss developments in the case.

At the court, Ghosn said his actions were backed by managers inside the company as well as external lawyers.

"I am pleading with the Japanese authorities to provide us with any information at all about my husband's health". Such visits were canceled Thursday but resumed Friday. Suspects in Japan are routinely held for months until trials start. Suspects are often re-arrested on suspicion of new charges periodically to keep them in custody while prosecutors attempt to build a case, and bail is the exception more than the rule.

The charges add to an earlier charge of under-reporting his income by around half over the five years through March 2015.

Before his sudden downfall, Ghosn was a respected figure in the global auto industry, having rescued the Japanese automaker from near-bankruptcy, building its sales operations and profits and pioneering ecological vehicles.

Nissan last weekend put two executives close to Ghosn on leave of absence, suggesting that the internal investigation into the alleged misconduct could be spreading.

Ghosn, who has been Renault CEO since 2005, has been languishing in a Tokyo detention centre for more than 50 days as he fights multiple allegations of financial misconduct.

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