March 22, 2019

Carlos Ghosn Faces New Charges in Japan as Pressure Mounts

Carlos Ghosn Faces New Charges in Japan as Pressure Mounts


TOKYO — Japanese prosecutors brought fresh charges on Friday against Carlos Ghosn, the embattled global auto chief who sits in a Tokyo jail.

The new allegations of financial wrongdoing raise the stakes in a showdown between Mr. Ghosn, until recently the head of the vast car-making alliance of Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi, and the prosecutors, who have been working in tandem with whistle-blowers inside Nissan. It also signals that prosecutors remain undeterred by Mr. Ghosn’s recent assertion of innocence in court.

Mr. Ghosn, his top aide Greg Kelly and Nissan are now charged with understating Mr. Ghosn’s income through March 2018, according to a statement from the Tokyo District Court. Mr. Ghosn was also charged with improperly transferring personal losses to Nissan’s books in 2008.

Mr. Ghosn has been detained since November, when prosecutors seized him shortly after his corporate jet touched down at a Tokyo airport. He was later indicted, along with Mr. Kelly and Nissan itself, on suspicion of withholding millions of dollars in income from Nissan financial filings between 2011 and 2015, when he was both chairman and chief executive of the company.

The auto executive has denied the allegations, declaring at his first appearance at a court proceeding on Tuesday that he had been “wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated accusations.”

The next step is likely to be Mr. Ghosn’s lawyers applying for bail, which could happen as soon as Friday. Motonari Otsuru, Mr. Ghosn’s lead lawyer in Tokyo, has said that he would ask for Mr. Ghosn’s release on bail. But even Mr. Otsuru, who is a former top prosecutor, has speculated that the authorities will seek to deny bail and that the executive’s detention could stretch for months as the two sides head to court.



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