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Economy

New indictments for ex Nissan boss Ghosn, who remains in detention

media Former Nissan chairman, Carlos Ghosn, faces two new charges of under-reporting income, and breach of trust Regis Duvignau/File Photo/Reuters

The former chairman of the Nissan Motor Co, Carlos Ghosn, was indicted on two new charges of financial misconduct on Friday, adding to existing legal challenges. Ghosn was charged with aggravated breach of trust for transferring personal investment losses to Nissan in 2008, and for under-reporting his compensation to shareholders for three years, from 2015 to 2017. He was already charged for allegedly understating his income for the five years leading up to 2015.

The second charge filed Friday is for aggravated breach of trust, which involves a complex scheme under which Ghosn allegedly tried to transfer losses on foreign exchange contracts to Nissan's books. The indictment also alleges that Ghosn used company funds to repay a Saudi acquaintance who put up collateral for the contracts.

Prosecutors also filed charges Friday against Nissan and Greg Kelly, an aide to Ghosn, over the understatement of pay.

Unlikely to leave jail

Ghosn has been in detention in Tokyo since he was arrested on 19 November. In a court appearance on Tuesday, his first public appearance since his arrest, Ghosn denied the accusations, calling them "meritless" and said he was “wrongly accused and unfairly detained.”

His lawyers argue that Ghosn had acted with the approval of Nissan's board and officers.

His legal team said they would file a bail application to free Ghosn, but they acknowledged that he is unlikely to be released, as it is uncommon for defendants in Japan who deny their charges to be granted bail ahead of trial, which in Ghosn’s case will be in about six months.

Nissan and Renault stay together

The legal woes have strained the partnership between Nissan and Renault, the French auto maker that owns over 40 per cent of Nissan.

The boards of the two companies met Thursday for an update on the investigations, and Nissan later said in a statement that it remains committed to the alliance.

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