Ghosn “facing fresh charges” as detention expires

22 Apr 2019 / 12:15 H.

Tokyo: Carlos Ghosn (pix) will learn his immediate fate on Monday when his detention period over suspected financial misconduct expires amid reports prosecutors will file fresh charges against the former Nissan boss.

The 65-year-old is being questioned in a Tokyo detention centre over allegations he siphoned off millions of dollars sent by his former company Nissan for personal use.

Ghosn strenuously denies the allegations and insists they have been cooked up in a "plot" by Nissan executives wary of his plans to bring the Japanese car giant closer to its French partner Renault.

But public Japanese broadcaster NHK reported on Friday that prosecutors would hit him with a fourth set of charges -- this time for allegedly using millions of dollars of Nissan cash for investments in 30 companies.

NHK said about three billion yen ($26.8 million) was moved from Nissan to an American firm named Shogun Investments run by Ghosn's son, whom prosecutors are also reportedly interested in questioning.

Ghosn had already spent 108 days in custody over three other charges of alleged financial malpractice -- accused of two counts of deferring part of his salary and concealing this to shareholders and another charge of seeking to shift personal losses to the company.

It has been a stunning downfall for Ghosn, a former titan of the auto sector once widely revered in Japan for saving Nissan from the brink of bankruptcy.

The case has been rich in unexpected twists and turns since the initial dramatic moment he was arrested on his private jet as he landed at Tokyo's Haneda Airport.

His detention has also sparked international criticism of Japan's justice system that allows authorities to keep suspects in custody for prolonged periods and where trials almost always result in a conviction.

He has already won bail once over the first three charges, walking out of the detention centre in front of the world's media dressed like a Japanese labourer with a cap and a face mask in an apparent attempt to give reporters the slip.

On Monday, authorities have three options: they could drop charges, meaning he would be able to reapply for bail, they could formally indict him for the fourth time or they could re-arrest him over yet further allegations.

Japan's Supreme Court has already twice rejected appeals by Ghosn's lawyers against his prolonged detention.

His wife Carole has also been questioned by prosecutors in Tokyo.

She has also denied any wrongdoing and been active in the media in recent days, writing an opinion piece in the Washington Post calling on US President Donald Trump to lean on Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe to allow her husband to obtain bail.

Ghosn's lawyers have voiced concern that he will receive a fair trial as 99 percent of all cases that come to trial end in a conviction.

The executive has gone from a life of luxury and private jets as he ran three huge car companies to a small cell.

He has already been stripped of his position on the board at Nissan and resigned from the head of Renault and the three-way alliance the two companies share with Mitsubishi Motors.

Carole Ghosn says she is concerned about her husband's health in conditions in the Japanese jail that Ghosn himself said he would not wish on his "worst enemy."

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