Monday, 22 July, 2019

Ex Nissan boss Ghosn arrested on new financial misconduct charges

Detained again, Nissan ex-chief Ghosn says arrest is 'outrageous' Ex Nissan boss Ghosn arrested on new financial misconduct charges
Ginger Lawrence | 06 April, 2019, 05:50

Ghosn's breach-of-trust charge allege that he temporarily shifted 1.85 billion yen ($16.5 million) in personal swap contract losses to Nissan and had Nissan pay $14.7 million out of the CEO Reserve to a business associate who allegedly helped Ghosn clear the red ink.

The prosecutors' statement did not mention Oman, but the allegation appears related to an investigation by Nissan Motor Co.'s French alliance partner Renault into payments to a major dealership in the Middle Eastern country, some of which are suspected of having been channeled for Ghosn's personal use.

The latest arrest is thought to center on allegations of funds worth $15 million being transferred from Nissan by Ghosn for private use starting in 2015, the BBC reported Thursday.

The special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office did not immediately comment on whether Ghosn, 65, admitted or denied the new charge.

In a statement to the media after his arrest, Ghosn said: "My arrest this morning is outrageous and arbitrary".

Prosecutors said that Ghosn, who since first being indicted has maintained his innocence, had caused Nissan a loss of around 563 million yen (5 million USA dollars).

The case has thrown an unflattering spotlight on Japan's justice system, and the considerable power of prosecutors to prolong detentions nearly indefinitely in order to extract confessions, a system often labeled "hostage justice".

The arrest, he said, was carried out to increase pressure on Ghosn to cave and to strip him of evidence and documentation as the defendant prepares for trial. He stated back then that he was the victim of a boardroom coup. Hironaka told reporters that the defense team is set to release a video of his statements, recorded while on bail.

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Japan's court has denied the prosecutor's request to extend detention of ex-Nissan chair Carlos Ghosn. Such detentions have been criticized as "hostage justice" meant to get confessions. "I am confident that if tried fairly, I will be vindicated", Ghosn wrote.

He had tweeted he would hold a news conference April 11, where he would tell "the truth" on what was unfolding.

Only a day after he took to Twitter to reveal that he was ready to "tell the truth" about his alleged financial misconduct while running the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance, Carlos Ghosn was arrested early Thursday at his home in Tokyo on new suspicions of financial misconduct.

In November, he was arrested on charges ranging from suppressing his income, abuse of official position to pushing personal investment losses to Nissan.

Prosecutors took Ghosn's phone, notebooks and other items in his possession as evidence, as well as his wife's phone and passport, according his lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka.

Nissan had previously established its own regional subsidiary made questionable payments of more than US$30 million to the Oman distributor, Suhail Bahwan Automobiles (SBA).

During his time in detention, Nissan, Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp all removed Ghosn, the three-way partnership's architect, as chairman and vowed to strengthen the auto group in his absence.

Renault and Nissan declined to comment. Renault said Ghosn will resign as its director, effective June.