Ghosn hit with more charges, release unlikely

| | Tokyo
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Ghosn hit with more charges, release unlikely

Saturday, 12 January 2019 | AFP | Tokyo

Tokyo prosecutors on Friday filed two new charges of financial misconduct against former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn, meaning the auto tycoon is unlikely to be leaving his jail cell soon.

Lawyers for the former jet-setting executive filed a bail application hours later, but have acknowledged that he will probably be detained until a trial.

Ghosn denies any wrongdoing and argued in a dramatic first court appearance on Tuesday that he has been “wrongly accused and unfairly detained.”

He was already facing a first charge for allegedly under-reporting his compensation over five years to the tune of five billion yen ($46 million) in official documents to shareholders. The charges filed today allege that the under-reporting continued for another three years.

And they include a charge of “aggravated breach of trust” over a complex alleged scheme in which Ghosn is said to have tried to transfer losses on foreign exchange contracts to Nissan’s books.

As part of the scheme, he is accused of also using company funds to repay a Saudi acquaintance who put up collateral for the contracts.

Prosecutors also filed charges Friday against Nissan and Ghosn aide Greg Kelly over the additional three years of under-reporting pay.

“We took these steps today because we believed that they are cases worthy of indictment and going to trial,” said deputy chief prosecutor Shin Kukimoto.

A prosecutor’s office spokeswoman said charges against Ghosn carry a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.

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.

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