Published: Sun, January 13, 2019
Business | By Eloise Houston

Detained Nissan's ex-chair Ghosn recovers from fever

Detained Nissan's ex-chair Ghosn recovers from fever

FBN's Cheryl Casone on the latest allegations against former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn.

When he was first detained on November 19, Ghosn was charged with falsifying financial reports and under-reporting his income by about five billion yen (£34 million) over five years.

Ghosn denies any wrongdoing and argued Tuesday in a dramatic first court appearance that he had been "wrongly accused and unfairly detained".

In addition, it is no longer making payments on his residence in Paris, the person added on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Friday marked the last day of Ghosn's most recent detention period approved by the Tokyo District Court, and prosecutors had to decide whether to indict or release him.

Japanese prosecutors indicted the former Nissan chairman on two new charges on Friday.

Kelly, a Ghosn ally, was hospitalized for treatment of a pre-existing neck problem after his release and has since been discharged, said his lawyer Yoichi Kitamura. The court rejected an appeal by Ghosn's lawyers for his release from detention, and on Thursday turned down another appeal.

The breach of trust charge alleges that 1.8 billion yen ($16.7 million) in damage was caused to Nissan through transactions made by Ghosn, and that $14.7 million was paid to the Saudi businessman.

Greg Kelly, another Nissan executive, and Nissan as a legal entity were charged along with Ghosn with additional under-reporting of income, from 2015 to 2017.

Carlos Ghosn could spend the next year in a Tokyo jail awaiting trial after he was indicted for the second time since his arrest almost two months ago.

Ghosn's lawyer, Motonari Otsuru, expects his client to be held until trial, which he said could begin in about six months.

Lawyers for Ghosn said they would request bail for the ex-Nissan chief.

Ghosn's prolonged detention has put the spotlight on Japan's justice system, which has come in for some global criticism.

He spoke in a strong voice and passionately declared a "genuine love and appreciation for Nissan", saying he had acted "honourably, legally and with the knowledge and approval of the appropriate executives inside the company". The court makes its decision based on the likelihood of the accused destroying evidence as well as prosecutors' opinion. "We are fearful and very anxious his recovery will be complicated while he continues to endure such harsh conditions and unfair treatment", it said.

Ghosn's lawyers dispute those claims.

While the two Japanese firms quickly ousted him from leadership roles, Renault has kept him on and its board said Thursday that an ongoing audit has found no sign of fraud in the last two years.

Nissan said an internal investigation began in the middle of a year ago after whistleblowers came forward.

Visits and questioning of the once high-flying industry titan were postponed after Ghosn developed a fever on Wednesday evening.

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