Friday, 18 January, 2019

Nissan's ex-chair Ghosn runs fever while in detention

Carlos Ghosn was originally arrested on November 10 Carlos Ghosn was originally arrested on November 10 Credit Reuters
Ginger Lawrence | 13 January, 2019, 12:21

He appeared in public for the first time on January 8 looking gray and gaunt, and was led into a court room handcuffed and with a rope tied around his waist.

Ghosn, arrested November 19, was earlier charged with falsifying financial reports in underreporting his income by about 5 billion yen ($44 million) over five years through 2015.

Ghosn is being held in a cell with a toilet and a wash basin.

Ghosn is facing a litany of accusations - all of which he denies.

Following the indictments, his defense team requested an end to his detention.

Since his arrest, Ghosn has been removed as chairman by Nissan and Mitsubishi.

The prosecutors asked related countries for help to continue investigations, suspecting that Ghosn used Nissan for private purposes, the sources said. "We are fearful and very anxious his recovery will be complicated while he continues to endure such harsh conditions and unfair treatment", she said.

A doctor is attending to the 64-year-old, who is exhausted from the long detention and interrogations, said his lawyer Motonari Otsuru.

Apart from prosecutors, only embassy officials and Ghosn's lawyers are allowed to visit him.

Ghosn and Kelly were arrested by the special investigation unit on November 19 on suspicion of failing to report some 5 billion yen of the former chairman's remuneration in financial statements for fiscal 2010 to 2014, and indicted on December 10 over the matter.

Suspects in Japan are routinely held for months until trials start, and Tokyo prosecutors maintain that Ghosn, a Brazilian-born Frenchman of Lebanese ancestry, is a flight risk.

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If proven, each of Ghosn's alleged offense may carry a sentence of as much as 10 years, prosecutors have said.

The prosecutors, meanwhile, believe Ghosn committed aggravated breach of trust the moment he transferred the contract to Nissan.

For example, his retirement payments were reviewed by legal experts inside Nissan as well as independent lawyers, and showed no intention of breaking the law.

Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa has denounced Ghosn, accusing him of using the company's money and assets for personal gain.

Kelly has also denied wrongdoing, saying he will restore his name in court.

Kelly and Nissan were not charged with breach of trust.

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 after more than 50 days of prison food.

His arrest came after a months-long investigation by Nissan into his conduct, a probe that was largely kept from its French partner.

"Unfortunately, Nissan is now involved in matters that have and will continue to divert its focus", Munoz said in his post.

Ghosn's former aide and Nissan director Greg Kelly - arrested the same day as the auto industry icon - was released from jail last month and taken to a hospital afterwards, Kyodo News reported earlier.