Economy

Ghosn hit with more charges, release unlikely

Ghosn hit with more charges, release unlikely

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.

Nissan said Friday it has filed its own criminal complaint against its former chief "on the basis of Ghosn's misuse of a significant amount of the company's funds".

The prosecutors also indicted former Nissan Representative Director Greg Kelly and Nissan itself for the alleged misstatement of Ghosn's remuneration.

The prosecutors, meanwhile, believe Ghosn committed aggravated breach of trust the moment he transferred the contract to Nissan.

His detention period over this latter allegation ends on Friday but his lead lawyer has expressed doubts that he could win bail, saying he expected Ghosn to stay in pre-trial detention for up to six months.

Ghosn, who has been Renault CEO since 2005, has been languishing in a Tokyo detention centre for more than 50 days as he fights multiple allegations of financial misconduct.

"I believe strongly that in all of my efforts on behalf of the company, I have acted honorably, legally and with the knowledge and approval of the appropriate executives inside the company - with the sole objective of supporting and strengthening Nissan, and helping to restore its place as one of Japan's finest and most respected companies".

He said the compensation was never decided on, the investment deal never resulted in any losses to Nissan, and the payments to the Saudi businessman were for legitimate services related to dealers and investments in the Gulf.

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The Brazilian-born Frenchman, who is credited with reviving Nissan and remains the chairman of its alliance partner Renault, told a court this week he was innocent of the charges against him.

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.

"I am pleading with the Japanese authorities to provide us with any information at all about my husband's health".

Ghosn, who appeared much thinner than before his arrest, came down with a fever the day after his court appearance, but has since recovered, Ohtsuru, the lawyer, said. "We are fearful and very anxious his recovery will be complicated while he continues to endure such harsh conditions and unfair treatment", she said.

He had already been indicted on a separate charge of underreporting his pay.

As chairman of Nissan, Renault SA (RENA.PA) and Mitsubishi Motors Corp (7211.T), the globe-trotting Ghosn had access to a string of residences around the world, including additional homes in Beirut and Rio de Janeiro.

His lawyers, in an opinion submitted to the court, argued that Ghosn's actions, including using Nissan's financial standing as collateral to secure currency exchange swaps, were undertaken with the approval of Nissan's board and officers.

He could also face charges for breach of trust, reports say.