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Ex-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn granted bail at €7.8 million in Japan

Ghosn was arrested on 19 November over suspicions of financial misconduct.

Carlos Ghosn
Carlos Ghosn
Image: Daniel Karmann/dpa via PA Images

FORMER AUTO INDUSTRY titan Carlos Ghosn has been granted bail at one billion yen (€7,893,849) after more than three months in a detention cell.  

Ghosn was arrested on 19 November over suspicions of financial misconduct.

Prosecutors appealed the decision of bail and could even file additional allegations against the 64-year-old to keep him from leaving detention.

Under his bail terms, Ghosn is banned from leaving Japan and must adhere to conditions aimed at preventing him from fleeing or destroying evidence.

The former head of Nissan, Mitsubishi Motors and Renault faces three charges – two involving alleged under-reporting of his salary and a third over a complex scheme in which Ghosn allegedly sought to transfer his losses to Nissan’s books.

Further claims of financial misconduct have been levelled against him and prosecutors may yet slap him with additional allegations to keep him in detention.

Under Japanese law, prosecutors can hold a suspect for up to 22 days while they investigate an allegation, and then can apply for repeated one-month stretches of pre-trial detention for each charge eventually levelled.

That means prosecutors could effectively prevent Ghosn from leaving detention despite today’s bail decision if they level new allegations against him, starting the 22-day detention clock.

Ghosn has denied all the allegations against him.

‘The razor’

The decision for bail came a day after Ghosn’s new lead defence lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka, told reporters he had filed a “convincing” application for bail that contained fresh elements.

Hironaka, who has a reputation for securing acquittals for high-profile clients in a country where almost all court cases end in conviction, offered greater surveillance of Ghosn and a limit on his electronic communications.

The court has previously said Ghosn’s continued detention was justified because he posed a flight risk and could seek to tamper with evidence. It had already rejected two official bail bids and other attempts to win freedom.

In a shake-up of his legal team last month, Ghosn replaced a former prosecutor known as “the breaker” with Hironaka, who has earned the nickname “the acquitter” for his court record and the “razor” for his mental sharpness.

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Speaking to reporters yesterday, Hironaka vowed a “completely new legal strategy” to obtain his client’s release.

Nissan declined to comment on the bail decision, saying it was a matter for courts and prosecutors.

However, it said that an internal probe had “uncovered substantial evidence of blatantly unethical conduct” and that “further discoveries related to Ghosn’s misconduct continue to emerge”.

“The company’s focus is firmly on addressing weaknesses in governance that failed to prevent this misconduct,” it added in a statement.

© – AFP 2019

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