Japanese court extends detention of Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn

Ex-car firm boss will face more questions over financial misconduct allegations

Carlos Ghosn has been held at a Tokyo detention centre for more than six weeks. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

Carlos Ghosn has been held at a Tokyo detention centre for more than six weeks. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

 

Tokyo District Court said on Monday it has extended the detention of ousted Nissan Motor chairman Carlos Ghosn until January 11th.

Mr Ghosn, accused of aggravated breach of trust, is facing allegations of making the car maker shoulder 1.85 billion yen (€14.6 million) in personal investment losses.

The latest extension will see Ghosn remain in Tokyo’s main detention centre, where he has been confined since his first arrest on November 19th on allegations of financial misconduct.

Since then, he has been re-arrested twice over the latest allegations and on claims that he underreported his Nissan salary for a prolonged period. He denies the allegations.

Calls to the office of Mr Ghosn’s lawyer, Motonari Otsuru, were not answered on Monday, an unofficial holiday in Japan.

A Nissan spokesman said the car maker was not in a position to comment on the latest development in the case.

“The company’s own investigation is ongoing, and its scope continues to broaden,” the spokesman said.

The decision to extend Mr Ghosn’s time in detention comes a day before his 10-day detention period for the latest allegation was set to expire on Tuesday, and follows the release of former Nissan executive Greg Kelly on bail last week after a court ruled against extending his detention while he awaits trial.

Both Mr Ghosn and Mr Kelly were initially arrested in late November and have been charged with underreporting Ghosn’s salary at Nissan over a five-year period from 2010.

Both deny the charges.

Nissan’s board in November fired Mr Ghosn as chairman and Mr Kelly as representative director, although both men technically still remain board members who can only be removed by shareholders.

Mr Ghosn’s arrest has rocked the car industry and strained Nissan’s ties with French automaking partner Renault SA , where Mr Ghosn still remains chairman and chief executive.

Mr Ghosn served as chief executive of Nissan for more than a decade through 2017 and concurrently held the chairman position at Renault, Nissan and partner Mitsubishi Motors until his arrest.

The three carmakers are linked by a complicated share-holding structure under which Renault holds a 43.4 per cent stake in Nissan, and Nissan holds a 15 percent stake in Renault, with no voting rights. Nissan holds a 34 per cent stake in Mitsubishi.

Since Mr Ghosn’s arrest, Nissan chief executive Hiroto Saikawa has called for changes to weaken the clout of controlling shareholder Renault.

Mr Ghosn’s arrest has also put Japan’s criminal justice system under international scrutiny and sparked criticism for some of its practices, including keeping suspects in detention for long periods and prohibiting defence lawyers from being present during interrogations, which can last eight hours a day. - Reuters