Key dates in financial misconduct case of ex-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn

Carlos Ghosn offered his first public statement since his arrest, appearing in a Tokyo courtroom on Jan 8, 2019.
Carlos Ghosn offered his first public statement since his arrest, appearing in a Tokyo courtroom on Jan 8, 2019. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

TOKYO (AFP) - Carlos Ghosn has gone from heading a powerful auto alliance to occupying a Tokyo cell on allegations of financial misconduct.

The former Nissan chairman was indicted for understating his pay, reported Kyodo. Ghosn denies any wrongdoing.

Here are some key dates since his arrest.

NOV 19, 2018: SHOCK ARREST

Investigators from the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office arrest Ghosn just after his private jet touches down at the Haneda Airport.

His right-hand man and close aide Greg Kelly is also arrested.

Accused of financial misconduct, including under-reporting Ghosn's salary by some five billion yen (S$60 million) between 2010 and 2015, they are detained for investigation for a period that is extended twice to Dec 10.

 

They both deny wrongdoing.

Prosecutors raid Nissan's headquarters in the city of Yokohama and Ghosn's luxury Tokyo apartment.

That evening Nissan chief executive officer Hiroto Saikawa says the company had uncovered years of financial misconduct including under-reporting of income and inappropriate personal use of company assets.

"Too much authority was given to one person in terms of governance," he tells reporters, referring to "a dark side of the Ghosn era".

NOV 20: RENAULT NAMES INTERIM BOSS

After an emergency board meeting, French car giant Renault says Thierry Bollore will take over with Ghosn "temporarily incapacitated" following his arrest.

Bollore, previously the chief operating officer, is appointed deputy CEO with the "same powers" as Ghosn.

Renault launches an internal audit into Ghosn's pay days later.

NOV 22: FIRED BY NISSAN

Nissan's board votes unanimously to "discharge" Ghosn as chairman.

In Paris, the French and Japanese finance ministers, Bruno Le Maire and Hiroshige Seko, reiterate "strong support" for maintaining the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance.

NOV 26: FIRED BY MITSUBISHI

Mitsubishi Motors executives meeting in Tokyo vote unanimously to oust Ghosn as chairman.

NOV 29: ALLIANCE AFFIRMS UNITY

Automakers Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors reaffirm their commitment to their alliance in the first meeting of company leaders since Ghosn's arrest.

"We remain fully committed to the Alliance," the firms say in a joint statement.

Ghosn had been seen as the glue binding together the complex three-way structure which makes up the world's top-selling auto company.

DEC 10: CHARGES AND RE-ARREST

Ghosn is formally charged on the initial allegations of under-reporting his salary between 2010 and 2015, with prosecutors also re-arresting him on allegations of further under-reporting in the last three years, according to local media. 

The new allegations restart the clock on his detention, allowing prosecutors to hold him for another 22 days. 

DEC 17: NISSAN FAILS TO AGREE GHOSN REPLACEMENT

The board of Nissan fails to agree a replacement for Ghosn as tensions grow in the firm’s alliance with Renault.  Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa says a committee advising the board on the decision needs more time, while media reports suggest the indecision is in part because of open discord with French automaker Renault. 

DEC 20: REQUEST TO EXTEND DETENTION REJECTED

The Tokyo district court rejects a request by prosecutors to extend Ghosn’s detention, in a surprise move that meant he could have been freed on bail.  Prosecutors appealed the court decision but their appeal was also rejected.  

DEC 21: RE-ARREST ON NEW ALLEGATIONS

Prosecutors re-arrest Ghosn over fresh allegations that he transferred losses from personal financial investments to Nissan, apparently dashing his hopes of early release.  The fresh arrest gives prosecutors 48 hours to question him on the new matter – possibly extended beyond that. 

DEC 31: DETENTION PROLONGED

 

This time, the court grants prosecutors the right to question Ghosn further on the new allegations, extending his detention until Jan 11. 

JAN 4, 2019: DEMAND FOR A HEARING

Another completely unexpected twist in the saga as Ghosn’s lawyers dig out a little-used section of the Constitution to demand a hearing to explain the reasons for his detention. 

JAN 8: FIRST PUBLIC APPEARANCE SINCE HIS ARREST 

Ghosn attends a hearing at the Tokyo District Court to make his first public appearance since his arrest. He says in a statement he has been “wrongly accused and unfairly detained”.  But the judge says the ongoing detention is justified because he poses a flight risk and could tamper with evidence.

JAN 10: FEVER

Japanese media reports Ghosn is suffering from a high fever and is unable to meet investigators for questioning or attend meetings with his lawyers.

Renault's board says an ongoing audit into executive pay had found no sign of fraud in the last two years but added the audit would continue with previous years scrutinised as it progresses.

JAN 11: NEW CHARGES

Prosecutors file two new charges of financial misconduct against Ghosn. His lawyer says he will request for bail.