Ghosn Re-arrested on Fresh Allegations, Likely to Spend Christmas in Detention

By Reuters
December 21, 2018Business News

Japanese prosecutors re-arrested Nissan Motor Co Ltd’s ousted chairman Carlos Ghosn on Dec. 21 on fresh allegations of making Nissan shoulder $16.6 million in personal investment losses, dashing chances he would be released on bail imminently.

The move comes a day after a Tokyo court unexpectedly rejected prosecutors’ request to extend Ghosn’s detention, which raised the possibility that he could go free on bail as early as Dec. 21.

The re-arrest means he could be detained for at least another 10 days in a Tokyo jail, where he has been confined since he was arrested last month on initial allegations of financial misconduct.

The Tokyo prosecutor said the new allegations were based on suspicions that around October 2008, Ghosn shifted personal trades to the automaker, so that he could avoid paying for 1.85 billion yen ($16.6 million) in losses.

Motonari Otsuru, lawyer for Carlos Ghosn
Motonari Otsuru, lawyer for Carlos Ghosn leaves the Tokyo Detention House in Tokyo, Japan on Dec. 20, 2018. (Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images)

His lawyer, Motonari Otsuru, was not available for comment. The lawyer has previously declined to return calls regarding the Ghosn case.

Restore Honor

The Tokyo court said in a statement that the lawyer for Greg Kelly, who was arrested along with Ghosn, has requested the release of Ghosn’s former deputy. Kelly’s detention extension was rejected along with Ghosn’s.

The dramatic turn of events came hours after Ghosn, through his lawyer and quoted by Japanese public broadcaster NHK, vowed to restore his good name in court and to hold a news conference after his release.

“Things as they stand are absolutely unacceptable,” he was quoted as saying. “I want to have my position heard and restore my honor in court.”

Ghosn was initially arrested on Nov. 19 for allegedly understating his income by about half over a five-year period from 2010. He was later charged with the same alleged crime covering the past three years.

Television camera crews had gathered outside the Tokyo jail on Dec. 21 morning in hopes of catching sight of Ghosn being released.

Media in front of Tokyo Detention Center
Media in front of Tokyo Detention Center, where Nissan’s arrested chairman Carlos Ghosn is being held in Tokyo, Japan Dec. 21, 2018. (Issei Kato/Reuters)


The Ghosn case has put Japan’s criminal justice system under international scrutiny and sparked criticism for some of its practices, including keeping suspects in detention for long periods and prohibiting defense lawyers from being present during interrogations, which can last eight hours a day.

Ghosn’s arrest has marked a dramatic fall for a leader once hailed for rescuing Nissan from the brink of bankruptcy.

It has also shaken the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, with Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa calling for changes to weaken Renault SA’s control.

By Kiyoshi Takenaka

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