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Japan court grants ex-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn bail at €4 million

Prosecutors quickly appealed the court’s decision, delaying his immediate release.

Carlos Ghosn
Carlos Ghosn
Image: Daniel Karmann/dpa

A JAPANESE COURT has granted former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn bail at 500 million yen (€4 million).

That means he could soon walk out of his Tokyo detention centre to prepare his defence against multiple charges of financial misconduct. 

The 65-year-old faces four charges ranging from concealing part of his salary from shareholders to syphoning off Nissan funds for his personal use.

Prosecutors quickly appealed the court’s decision, delaying his immediate release.

However, public broadcaster NHK said he could walk out of his detention centre “as early as [today]“.

The court temporarily suspended the bail process as it considered the appeal.

According to conditions set by the court, Ghosn cannot leave Japan and is subject to other restrictions to prevent him from attempting to flee or destroy evidence relating to the case.

Ghosn denies all the charges.

A spokesperson for the executive said on Monday that Ghosn would “vigorously defend himself against these baseless accusations and fully expects to be vindicated”.

The spokesperson said Ghosn was being detained “under cruel and unjust conditions, in violation of his human rights, in an effort by prosecutors to coerce a confession from him”.

Most serious charges yet

On Monday, Ghosn was hit with what experts have described as the most serious charges yet.

Prosecutors accused him of syphoning off $5 million (€4.4 million) of Nissan cash transferred from the company to a dealership in Oman.

He also faces two charges of deferring some $80 million (€71.7 million) of his salary and hiding this in official documents to shareholders, and seeking to shift personal investment losses to the firm during the 2008 financial crisis.

In a statement, a Nissan spokesman said that the company’s “internal investigation has uncovered substantial evidence of blatantly unethical conduct”.

Further discoveries related to Ghosn’s misconduct continue to emerge.

Since his initial arrest, Ghosn has already been granted bail once. He vowed not to leave Japan and to live in a small court-appointed apartment in central Tokyo.

‘Tell the truth’

Ghosn was preparing to hold a much-anticipated news conference to “tell the truth” about his case. However, he was re-arrested shortly beforehand to face questioning about the alleged $5 million embezzlement.

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Aware he may have been about to return to custody, Ghosn pre-recorded a video in which he attacked “backstabbing” Nissan executives of a “plot” against him, as they feared closer ties with French partner Renault.

Japanese media reported on Tuesday that the French firm had offered a “management integration proposal” to Nissan, which was poised to reject it as they believe it does not provide equality to the Japanese company.

Unless re-arrested over further allegations, Ghosn will be free to organise his defence ahead of a possible trial that is likely to take months to prepare.

Ghosn’s lead lawyer has told reporters that a trial as early as the autumn was “not possible for various reasons”.

His lawyers have demanded he be tried separately from Nissan, which also faces charges for submitting the suspect financial documents.

With reporting by © AFP 2019

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