Economy

New indictments for ex Nissan boss Ghosn, who remains in detention

New indictments for ex Nissan boss Ghosn, who remains in detention

Ghosn has said that he has been "unfairly detained" but the Tokyo District Court earlier this week rejected an appeal by his lawyers to end his detention.

Ghosn and Kelly have denied all charges.

The first of the two new indictments alleges that Ghosn temporarily shifted personal securities losses to Nissan, in a special breach of trust case.

Carlos Ghosn's chances of getting out of jail anytime soon took a serious blow on Friday after he was indicted for a second time by Japanese prosecutors building their case against the fallen vehicle executive, who was detained nearly two months ago.

A prosecutor's office spokesperson told AFP that the charges against Ghosn carried a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.

Renault, which is the biggest shareholder in Nissan, has refrained from removing Ghosn, instead appointing interim replacements.

The breach of trust charge is regarded as particularly serious, and Ghosn's lawyer Motonari Otsuru admitted Tuesday it would be "very difficult" to secure bail for his client.

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.

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Mr Ghosn, whose detention has drawn some criticism, denies all wrongdoing.

His detention has been extended until Friday and prosecutors are expected to press new charges to try to prolong it further. The open hearing on Tuesday, which drew worldwide attention, was his first public appearance since his arrest on November 19. Nissan said it regretted any concern caused to its stakeholders.

The boards of the two companies met Thursday for an update on the investigations, and Nissan later said in a statement that it remains committed to the alliance.

Ghosn said he was "wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated accusations" during a court proceeding earlier this week, the vehicle executive's first public appearance since his November arrest. The sum of the remuneration that was allegedly underreported totals about ¥9 billion ($83 million).

Ghosn's arrest has exposed rifts in the alliance he forged and led between Nissan, Mitsubishi Motors and France's Renault. Those allegations center on Ghosn's handling of investment losses and payments made to a Saudi businessman. A violation of the financial instruments law by understating remuneration carries the same penalty for an individual, while a company faces a fine of up to 700 million yen.

Last month, he was indicted for under-reporting his income for an earlier period. Unless the defendant seeks bail, the detention is often renewed repeatedly.

Ghosn's aide Greg Kelly, who was arrested at the same time over his alleged role in helping the executive understate his pay, was released on a bail at $635 000 (over R8m) on December 25. The court makes its decision based on the likelihood of the accused destroying evidence as well as prosecutors' opinion. He is said to be suffering from spinal stenosis.