Ghosn ex-NISSAN chief gets $4.5m bail

A Japanese court granted embattled former NISSAN chief, Carlos Ghosn bail Thursday, meaning the he could soon walk out of his Tokyo detention centre to prepare his defence against multiple charges of financial misconduct.

The Tokyo District Court set bail at 500 million yen ($4.5 million) as the 65-year-old auto sector titan faces four charges ranging from concealing part of his salary from shareholders to siphoning off Nissan funds for his personal use.

Prosecutors quickly appealed the court’s decision, delaying his immediate release but public broadcaster NHK said he could walk out of his detention centre “as early as Thursday”.

The court temporarily suspended the bail process as it considered the appeal.

According to conditions set by the court, Ghosn cannot leave Japan and is subject to other restrictions to prevent him from attempting to flee or destroy evidence relating to the case.

Ghosn denies all the charges, with a spokesperson for the executive saying on Monday he would “vigorously defend himself against these baseless accusations and fully expects to be vindicated”.

The spokesperson said Ghosn was being detained “under cruel and unjust conditions, in violation of his human rights, in an effort by prosecutors to coerce a confession from him”.

On Monday, he was hit with what experts have described as the most serious charges yet as prosecutors accused him of siphoning off $5 million of Nissan cash transferred from the company to a dealership in Oman.

He also faces two charges of deferring some $80 million of his salary and hiding this in official documents to shareholders, and seeking to shift personal investment losses to the firm during the 2008 financial crisis.

A Nissan spokesman said in a statement that the company’s “internal investigation has uncovered substantial evidence of blatantly unethical conduct”.
“Further discoveries related to Ghosn’s misconduct continue to emerge,” he added.

Ghosn has already been granted bail once, posting $9 million and vowing not to leave Japan and to live in a small court-appointed apartment in central Tokyo — a far cry from his former luxury suite.

Last time he left the detention centre in northern Tokyo, he was dressed in a cap, face mask and workman’s uniform in an apparent attempt to evade dozens of journalists from around the world hoping to snap a picture of the fallen tycoon.

The bizarre stunt was cooked up by one of his lawyers, Takashi Takano, who later apologised for “tainting” the reputation of his client who usually appears in public in sharp suits.
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