Monday, 25 March, 2019

Nissan top executive Munoz resigns amid broadened Ghosn probe

An artists sketch of Carlos Ghosn during his court appearance on Tuesday Carlos Ghosn: Ex-Nissan chair faces 'two new charges'
Russell Knight | 13 January, 2019, 14:43

During the hearing Tuesday, Ghosn appeared much thinner than before he was arrested.

Japan's prosecutors have faced criticism for a lack of clarity and communication on how they are handling the case, with Ghosn held in detention without charge for longer than would be permitted in the United Kingdom for a suspected terrorist.

He was first detained on 19 November and rearrested twice in December.

Motonari Otsuru confirmed that Ghosn had been indicted on the fresh allegations and said he would "shortly request his release on bail".

Following the indictments, his defense team requested an end to his detention. The prosecutors haven't officially charged him over these allegations.

Ghosn's lawyer said earlier this week that his client would likely be held until the trial which could begin in about six months.

Only embassy officials and Ghosn's lawyers are allowed to visit him.

Ghosn said he was "wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated accusations" during a court proceeding earlier this week, the vehicle executive's first public appearance since his November arrest.

He faces a combined maximum sentence of 15 years in prison if found guilty of the charges.

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Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa told reporters later in the day that an ongoing internal probe into the alleged misconduct by Ghosn, who holds Brazilian, French and Lebanese nationality, will be conducted together with Renault.

The prosecutors asked related countries for help to continue investigations, suspecting that Ghosn used Nissan for private purposes, the sources said. Renault, unlike Nissan, has maintained Ghosn as its chairman and chief executive, citing the presumption of innocence.

Prosecutors on Friday slapped the 64-year-old with a formal charge of under-declaring his income by around four billion yen ($37 million) over three years from 2015.

Carole Ghosn, the ousted Nissan chairman's wife, released a statement on Thursday pleading with Japanese authorities for more information about her husband's health.

"We are fearful and very anxious his recovery will be complicated while he continues to endure such harsh conditions and unfair treatment", she said in a statement. It accuses Ghosn, fellow director Greg Kelly and Nissan as a company of falsifying securities filings by under-reported Ghosn's compensation in the fiscal years 2015-2017.

As chairman of Nissan, Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp 7211.T , the globe-trotting Ghosn had access to a string of residences around the world, including additional homes in Beirut and Rio de Janeiro.

That lack of transparency and concern that Nissan will use Ghosn's absence to push for more power within the alliance has heightened tensions between the two automakers.

Directors gave no hint in their statement of any deliberations into Ghosn's future at Renault.

Visits and questioning of the once high-flying industry titan were postponed after Ghosn developed a fever on Wednesday evening.

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