Nissan ex-Chairman Carlos Ghosn indicted for breach of trust

by Bamidele Ogunberu Posted on January 11th, 2019

Tokyo, Japan: Former Nissan Motors Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn was indicted on new financial charges Friday in a Tokyo court.

Ghosn, 64, was charged with aggravated breach of trust for allegedly transferring $17 million in personal investment losses to Nissan in 2008 as well understating his compensation by $37 million for three years through March 2018, the Nikkei Asian Review reported.

Last month, he was indicted for underreporting his pay by around $46 million between 2010 and 2015.

Ghosn has been in jail since his arrest on Nov. 19 at Tokyo’s Haneda airport. Nissan dismissed Ghosn as chairman shortly after his arrest, but he remains chairman and CEO of Renault, which is the largest shareholder and partner of Nissan. The French company has assigned his duties to other executives.

Prosecutors expected him to be detained until the trial begins, which could be as long as six months, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“Generally speaking, it’s extremely rare for a court to grant bail before a trial begins,” Motonari Otsuru told reporters. “That’s our main concern, and I think Mr Ghosn is very troubled by this.”

Ex-Nissan executive Greg Kelly, who was arrested at the same time for his alleged role in helping his boss understate his pay, was released on a bail $635,000 on Dec. 25.

On Tuesday, Ghosn appeared before a judge in a Tokyo court for the first time. He denied the allegations against him, saying he has been wrongfully accused, is innocent and the accusations are merit-less.

One day later, he came down with a 102-degree fever.

“I recently learned that my husband is suffering from a high fever at the detention center in Tokyo, but my information is limited to news reports as no one in his family has been allowed to contact him since 19 November,” wife, Carole Ghosn, said in a statement. “We are fearful and very worried his recovery will be complicated while he continues to endure such harsh conditions and unfair treatment.”

EARLIER: Tokyo court rejects appeal of former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn

A Tokyo District Court denied former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn’s request to be released from detention Tuesday.

Tokyo authorities arrested Ghosn in November for alleged financial fraud committed while Ghosn led Nissan. Ghosn has been detained since his arrest last year.

Authorities claim that Ghosn, and his aide Greg Kelly, committed multiple acts of fraud while leading the automaker conglomerate. The allegations include misrepresenting earned salary, transferring personal investment losses to the automaker, and misuse of company funds to secure credit for personal investments.

In the court hearing, Ghosn countered that all of the transactions represented fair compensation for business completed by associates, including $14.7 million paid to Saudi businessman Khaled Al-Juffali. Prosecutors maintain the payment was repayment for a personal line of credit that Ghosn secured from Al-Juffali from 2009 to 2012. Additionally, Ghosn claimed that funds from Nissan never settled his personal investment debts.

The Tokyo District Court’s decision to keep Ghosn detained can be appealed to a higher court. If the decision holds, Ghosn could be imprisoned until a trial starts.

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Bamidele Ogunberu

Bamidele Ogunberu

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