Ghosn hit with more charges, release unlikely

Marco Green
January 11, 2019

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.

His associate, Greg Kelly, another Nissan executive and the carmarker as a legal entity were also charged in relation to the underreporting of income. The judge, Yuichi Tada, said it was because he was considered a flight risk, and the possibility of concealing evidence.

Ghosn was charged with aggravated breach of trust for temporarily transferring personal investment losses to Nissan in 2008, and for understating his compensation for three years, from 2015 to 2017, showed a statement from his lawyer, Motonari Otsuru.

And that, he said, could take at least six months.

The 64-year-old auto tycoon was already facing charges for one allegation of under-reporting his pay, and the new charges accuse him of additional misreporting as well as "aggravated breach of trust" involving company funds.

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

The boards of Nissan and its French 43.4 percent owner, Renault SA, met on Thursday for an update on the Ghosn investigations, with Nissan later saying in a statement it remained committed to the alliance that has strained ties between the two automakers.

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.

Without citing its sources, Liberation reported that Ghosn had had his tax domicile in France until 2012 and was subject to the country's wealth tax.

However, according to local media, he was struck down by a high fever late on Wednesday, with the prison doctor saying he was too unwell to be questioned or receive visits from his lawyer or embassy officials.

"I have been wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated accusations", the once-revered vehicle titan told the court.

In a career spanning decades, during which he won praise for turning around a struggling Nissan, he said he had "always acted with integrity" and had never before been accused of any wrongdoing.

It would be "very hard", said Motonari Otsuru.

But Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne told French radio this week that "obviously, if this situation continues we'll have to draw the consequences".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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