Carlos Ghosn will spend Christmas in a Tokyo jail cell
Former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn, detained for the past five weeks on charges he underreported his income, will spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve in a Tokyo jail cell.
The Tokyo District Court ruled Sunday that Ghosn can be held for a further 10 days without bail. The decision follows his rearrest on Friday on additional allegations of breach of trust. Japanese prosecutors petitioned the court to extend the executive’s detention and restrict bail.
Ghosn will be barred from seeing regular visitors during the 10-day period that ends on January 1. He can still meet with lawyers and consular officials from countries for which he holds citizenship.
Prosecutors can ask for another 10-day extension based on the new charges.
Ghosn’s arrest in Tokyo last month on allegations of financial misconduct has shaken the international auto industry and strained the alliance he built between Nissan (NSANY), Renault (RNSDF) and Mitsubishi Motors (MMTOF).
Since his arrest on November 19, Ghosn has been fired as chairman by both Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors.
Renault has appointed interim management but kept Ghosn on the payroll.
The prolonged detention of a prominent global business leader has drawn attention to the ability of Japanese prosecutors to hold suspects for extended periods without formally charging them.
His case has shown “how awful the Japanese criminal justice system is,” said Kana Sasakura, a law professor at Konan University in Kobe whose work includes fighting wrongful convictions in the country.
In their move to rearrest Ghosn on Friday, prosecutors alleged that he temporarily shifted 1.85 billion yen ($16.6 million) of losses from his private investments onto a Nissan subsidiary as the global financial crisis erupted in October 2008.
Ghosn was indicted on December 10 on allegations he underreported his income by tens of millions of dollars between 2010 and 2015 in Nissan disclosures. The charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. Prosecutors have also accused him of continuing the practice into 2017 but haven’t indicted him on that allegation yet.
Following Friday’s announcement by prosecutors, Ghosn’s Tokyo-based lawyer Motonari Otsuru said his client maintains his innocence and hopes to restore his honor at trial, according to The Wall Street Journal. Otsuru’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment from CNN.
Ghosn, a Brazilian-born French citizen who grew up in Lebanon, is yet to issue a more detailed public statement in response to the allegations against him. Legal experts have said that may be because of the limitations of his detention and to avoid jeopardizing his defense.
Greg Kelly, a former Nissan director accused of helping Ghosn under-report his income, was also indicted last week. But he wasn’t rearrested on the new allegations Friday.
Kelly, an American citizen, has now applied for bail, but his chances may be slim. It’s rare in Japan for indicted suspects to be released on bail, according to experts. Tokyo prosecutors declined to comment Friday on Kelly’s bail application.
Kelly’s wife said that he has been wrongly accused.
Nissan, which has also been indicted in the case, has said Ghosn and Kelly’s alleged misconduct was first brought to its attention by a whistleblower. An internal investigation uncovered serious problems, according to the company, which led it to alert authorities in Japan and begin cooperating with them.