TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese prosecutors plan to indict former Nissan Motor Co Ltd (7201.T) Chairman Carlos Ghosn on two more charges of financial misconduct on Friday, a person with knowledge of the issue said, bringing the total number to three.
FILE PHOTO: Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, attends a press conference on the second press day of the Paris auto show, in Paris, France, October 3, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo
Ghosn, who has been detained since his arrest in November, will likely 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.
The charges, which have been widely expected, add to an earlier charge of under-reporting his income by around half through 2015.
At a court appearance earlier this week, Ghosn said all accusations against him were “meritless” and “unsubstantiated”.
Nissan also faces an indictment over the latest compensation reporting issue, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.
The Nikkei daily earlier reported that prosecutors planned to charge Ghosn for aggravated breach of trust on Friday. It also reported, citing unidentified investigation sources, that Ghosn had discussed the possibility of extending a 3 billion yen ($27.81 million) loan to a business run by a Saudi acquaintance who later provided collateral for a personal investment.
Both the Tokyo Prosecutors Office and Nissan declined to comment on the issues when contacted by Reuters.
Ghosn has been in detention since his initial arrest on Nov. 19. While he has said that he has been “unfairly detained”, the Tokyo District Court earlier this week rejected an appeal by his lawyers to end his detention.
It is uncommon for defendants in Japan who deny charges to be granted bail ahead of trial, a tendency which has drawn widespread criticism, including from Ghosn’s defense team.
A member of Ghosn’s legal team told Reuters on Thursday that they would apply to bail Ghosn after his current detention period ends on Friday, but that his release would come on Tuesday at the earliest should the court accept the application.
Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, Motonari Otsuru, who leads Ghosn’s Japan-based legal team, said he expected prosecutors to take at least six months to prepare for trial.
Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Additional reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto, Tim Kelly and Maki Shiraki; Editing by Christopher Cushing