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Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn hit with more charges, release unlikely

11 January 2019

His associate, Greg Kelly, another Nissan executive and the carmarker as a legal entity were also charged in relation to the underreporting of income.

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.

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

Even his main lawyer Motonari Otsuru has acknowledged the 64-year-old executive has little chance of being released soon, describing it as "very difficult" to win bail before the case goes to trial.

According to reports, Ghosn was led into the court in handcuffs and with a rope around his waist, and appeared notably thinner than previously.

In his statement, Ghosn also listed his achievements during his time as head of Nissan, and added: "I have a genuine love and appreciation for Nissan". His current detention term is scheduled to end Friday.

Ghosn is likely to be formally charged with aggravated breach of trust for temporarily transferring personal investment losses to Nissan in 2008, as well as for understating his compensation for three years through 2018.

It has not been ruled out that prosecutors could also re-arrest the executive over as-yet unknown accusations, allowing the authorities another 22 days of questioning.

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Ghosn's lawyers asked for the court hearing, his first public appearance, to press for bail saying it was not necessary to keep the tycoon in detention but the request was rejected.

The Yomiuri Shimbun said $100 million from Ghosn's "CEO reserve" was paid to sales agents in 5 Middle Eastern countries.

Ghosn's prolonged detention has also raised foreign awareness of the Japanese justice system that has come under fire internationally for allowing suspects to be detained nearly indefinitely.

The jet-setting high-flyer who once sparked criticism for a lavish lifestyle was initially kept in a tiny cell and slept on Japanese-style tatami mats.

He has reportedly complained about the rice-based diet at the detention center, with his family saying he has lost up to 20 kilos (44 pounds).

Japanese media, citing Ghosn's lawyers, said Thursday that he was suffering from a high fever and unable to meet investigators for questioning.

"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.

Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn hit with more charges, release unlikely