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Tokyo prosecutors indict Ghosn on two new charges of financial misconduct

Reuters/TOKYO 11 Jan 19 | 11:54 AM

Carlos Ghosn

Tokyo prosecutors indicted former Nissan Motor Co Ltd Chairman Carlos Ghosn on two new charges of financial misconduct on Friday, his lawyer said, adding to the legal challenges for the once-feted auto executive.

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Ghosn was charged with aggravated breach of trust for temporarily transferring personal investment losses to Nissan in 2008, and for understating his compensation for three years, from 2015 to 2017, showed a statement from his lawyer, Motonari Otsuru.

Otsuru said his team was applying for bail to release Ghosn, who has been detained since his Nov. 19 arrest. He had already been charged for under-reporting his income for the five years through 2015.

It is uncommon for defendants in Japan who deny their charges to be granted bail ahead of trial.

Otsuru earlier this week said Ghosn would likely be held until the trial which could begin in about six months.

Even if bail were granted, Ghosn would not likely be released until Tuesday given that Monday is public holiday, and all banks will be closed through the long weekend.

In a court hearing on Tuesday, Ghosn denied the accusations, calling them "meritless" and "unsubstantiated"..

His lawyers, in an opinion submitted to the court, argued that Ghosn's actions, including using Nissan's financial standing as collateral to secure currency exchange swaps, were undertaken with the approval of Nissan's board and officers.

The boards of Nissan and its French 43.4 per cent owner, Renault SA, met on Thursday for an update on the Ghosn investigations, with Nissan later saying in a statement it remained committed to the alliance that has strained ties between the two automakers.

At its own informal meeting, Renault said its directors were updated on the company's compliance investigation into payments to top executives.

Ghosn's wife, Carole, issued a statement on his continued detention on Thursday asking Japanese authorities for more information on her husband's health after he ran a fever, saying she was worried about his recovery.

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