Carlos Ghosn, Former Nissan Chairman, Is Denied Bail in Japan Express News
TOKYO — A Tokyo court on Tuesday denied bail to Carlos Ghosn, the former Nissan chairman detained since November on allegations of financial misconduct. The embattled auto chief now faces two more months in a jail cell — and possibly longer — as his case heads to court.
Mr. Ghosn, until recently the head of the carmaking alliance of Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi, is accused by Japanese prosecutors of understating his income for years and of improperly transferring personal losses to Nissan’s books in 2008. He has denied all charges.
His lawyers said later Tuesday that they had appealed the court’s ruling.
A top aide to Mr. Ghosn, Greg Kelly, was arrested on a related charge and released on bail on Christmas Day after more than a month in jail.
Now that Mr. Ghosn’s application for bail has been rejected, he can legally be held until at least March 10, and prosecutors are entitled to request one-month extensions. Motonari Otsuru, Mr. Ghosn’s lead lawyer in Tokyo and a former top prosecutor, has speculated that the executive’s detention could stretch for many months.
The court reached its decision despite a plea from Mr. Ghosn’s wife, Carole Ghosn, who on Monday wrote to Human Rights Watch, a global advocacy group, calling her husband’s detention “a case study in the realities of a draconian system.”
The treatment of Mr. Ghosn, who has been formally arrested three times, prolonging his detention, has cast a critical light on Japan’s criminal justice system. He has been interrogated without a lawyer, and until Tuesday he was permitted to meet only with diplomats or his Japanese lawyers.
In a handful of past high-profile cases, such tactics have resulted in confessions even from suspects who were later proved to be innocent.
“No human being should be detained under conditions so harsh that their only plausible purpose is to coerce a confession,” Mrs. Ghosn wrote in her letter to Human Rights Watch.
Separately, Mr. Ghosn’s children have claimed that the auto executive’s arrest was the result of a revolt by his Nissan colleagues.
Mr. Ghosn and Mr. Kelly were indicted in December on charges of understating by half Mr. Ghosn’s earnings from April 2010 to March 2015 in securities filings. Last week, prosecutors added charges that Mr. Ghosn had also understated his compensation by more than half from April 2015 to March 2018.
The auto chief is further accused of improperly using Nissan funds to reward a Saudi businessman who provided collateral for investment losses Mr. Ghosn suffered during the global financial crisis. But Mr. Ghosn has said Nissan merely paid the businessman, Khaled Juffali, for crucial services that benefited the company.
Mr. Ghosn has been ousted as chairman by both Nissan and Mitsubishi, though he remains chairman of Renault and is still a board member at Renault and Nissan.
Hiroto Saikawa, Nissan’s chief executive and Mr. Ghosn’s former protégé, has rebuked his onetime boss, accusing him of running a yearslong scheme to mislead the financial authorities. Mr. Saikawa has not been accused of any crime.