Detained in a Tokyo jail since his Nov. 19 arrest, Renault CEO and former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn could soon find himself out on bail. A Tokyo district court has rejected an appeal aimed at keeping Ghosn in detention, meaning Christmas might be brighter for the auto industry titan than previously thought.
Meanwhile, Nissan’s scrambling to ensure that, if Ghosn does walk free, he won’t return to a number of glitzy homes.
As reported by Reuters, a Tokyo court just upheld an earlier decision not to renew the executive’s detention for a further 10 days. Ghosn and Nissan board member Greg Kelly were re-arrested on Dec. 10 after Japanese prosecutors handed down indictments, but that only extended their detention for a finite period.
Attempts by the prosecutors to extend the detention met a brick wall, as did their appeal of the court’s earlier ruling. Ghosn and Kelly could emerge from the facility by the weekend, assuming the court accepts their bail request.
Both men were indicted for underreporting the chairman’s income between 2011 and 2014 to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. No charges have been laid for the period 2015-2017. All told, prosecutors (and Nissan) claim Ghosn underreported nearly $80 million to the Japanese finance ministry. The decidedly not white glove treatment afforded to Ghosn by Japanese authorities might be behind the court’s decision.
“They are very nervous about criticism of their approach toward detention,” defence lawyer Masashi Akita told The Guardian. “I think this case has had a big impact on the practice of Japanese justice.”
While those authorities ready their financial misconduct case against Ghosn, Nissan’s trying to change locks. As reported by Bloomberg, Ghosn frequented five homes in Tokyo, Paris, Beirut, Amsterdam, and Rio de Janeiro, each of which was bought or rented with Nissan funds. Nissan has already managed to change the locks at “several” properties, sources claim. In seeking to bar Ghosn from the Rio home, Nissan told a Brazilian court it was “due to a high likelihood of evidence being removed or destroyed.” The Beirut and Rio mansions, worth nearly $12 million combined, are Nissan’s main focus.
Should he be released, Ghosn will be restricted to living in his Tokyo home or a hotel. Leaving the country will require permission from the court.