Ghosn faces new charge after 4th arrest, seeks bail

Carlos Ghosn was charged on suspicion of enriching himself at the expense of Nissan.
Carlos Ghosn was charged on suspicion of enriching himself at the expense of Nissan.

TOKYO • Japanese prosecutors indicted Carlos Ghosn yesterday on another charge of aggravated breach of trust, a Tokyo court said.

It was the fourth charge against the former Nissan Motor chairman, which his lawyers immediately met with a bail request.

The charge came on the day Ghosn's latest detention period was set to expire. Ghosn had been out on bail when the authorities arrested him for the fourth time on April 4 on suspicion that he had enriched himself at a cost of US$5 million (S$6.8 million) to the carmaker.

"We are confident that we have the evidence to successfully prosecute all four cases," an official from the prosecutor's office said at a briefing after the indictment was announced.

Ghosn has denied all four charges, which include understating his income, and said he is the victim of a boardroom coup.

He has accused former colleagues of "backstabbing", calling them selfish rivals bent on derailing a closer alliance between Nissan and its top shareholder, France's Renault.

The case has rocked the global auto industry while shining a harsh light on Japan's judicial system, which critics refer to as "hostage justice", as defendants who deny their charges are often not granted bail.

Under Japanese law, prosecutors can hold suspects for up to 22 days without charge and interrogate them without their lawyers present. In line with these terms, prosecutors had to indict or release Ghosn yesterday.

A court would likely rule on the bail request today, Ghosn's lead lawyer, Mr Junichiro Hironaka, told reporters.

Before Ghosn's latest arrest, he had been out on US$9 million bail for 30 days. He is now being held in the same Tokyo detention centre where he was detained for 108 days after his initial arrest on the tarmac at a Tokyo airport in November last year.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 23, 2019, with the headline 'Ghosn faces new charge after 4th arrest, seeks bail'. Print Edition | Subscribe