Nissan’s former Chairman re-arrested on new charges

Tokyo: Nissan Motor Co.’s former Chairman Carlos Ghosn was re-arrested on Friday on fresh charges that he shifted personal losses onto the company, dashing hopes he could be released on bail.

According to Japanese broadcaster NHK, prosecutors now suspect that in October 2008, in the midst of the global financial crisis, Ghosn temporarily forced Nissan to take over a personal derivative contract that was sitting on $16.6 million in losses at the time.

The latest move means he will remain in prison so prosecutors can question him further.

A towering figure in the auto industry, Ghosn has not yet responded to the latest allegation — but he has consistently denied all earlier accusations made against him.

Ghosn spent the last month in prison, accused of misusing funds and hiding $80 million of income, according to the BBC. His detention rocked the global car industry and put strains on the alliance he presided over between Nissan and Renault.

On Thursday, a court rejected a request to extend his detention, signalling that he could apply to be released on bail.

But, by citing the new charges, prosecutors gained the right to hold Ghosn without bail for two days. They can then apply to the Tokyo District Court to extend that detention period by 10 days. That period can be extended once for a total of 20 days, according to Efe news.

Ghosn was indicted on December 10 on charges of underreporting his income on Nissan’s financial statement over a five-year period ending in March 2015. At the same time, prosecutors cited new suspicions that he underreported his compensation for the three years ending in March 2018, using that as a basis to extend his detention without bail.

On Thursday, prosecutors suffered a rare loss after a judge rejected their request to hold Ghosn for 10 more days without the possibility of bail on the basis of those additional suspicions.

Ghosn’s lawyer, Motonari Otsuru, filed a petition for bail after prosecutors lost the detention hearing, according to a person familiar with Ghosn’s legal defence. The new suspicions came shortly before the scheduled bail hearing on Friday.

The new charges did not involve Greg Kelly, a longtime aide to Ghosn who was charged with helping underreport the auto tycoon’s income.

Kelly’s Japanese lawyer said that he filed an application for his client’s release on bail.