Published: Thu, March 07, 2019
Markets | By Erika Turner

Ex-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn wins bail in Japan

Ex-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn wins bail in Japan

Jean-Yves Le Borgne said the decision was confirmed to free Ghosn on 1 billion yen ($8.9 million) bail.

Prosecutors filed their objection to Ghosn's release within hours of the Tokyo District Court's announcement he was going to be granted bail.

A lawyer for Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Co.'s former chairman Carlos Ghosn says his release on bail will not occur Tuesday.

Prosecutors are looking into allegations he conspired with another executive, American Greg Kelly, to understate his income by around $44 million between June 2011 and June 2015.

Ghosn also faces charges of breach of trust that stem from his handling of investment losses and payments to a Saudi businessman.

He strongly denies the claims and again proclaimed his innocence in a statement released overnight, adding that he was looking forward to his day in court.

Flanked by police officers and wearing a light blue baseball cap, face mask and eyeglasses, Ghosn climbed into a silver Suzuki van and left the detention center where he'd been locked up since his November 19 arrest.

The court granted his lawyers' request for bail on the conditions that Ghosn remain in Japan and be prevented from tampering with evidence.

The former executive once headed the alliance that included Nissan, Mitsubishi, and France's Renault.

Long the glue binding the partnership together, Ghosn was the chairman of all three companies, CEO of Renault and head of the alliance until after his arrest.

Ghosn's wife Carole had arrived at the detention center shortly before his release and left in a separate vehicle belonging to the French Embassy.

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Public prosecutors had called for the court to reject his requests to be released on bail, and were surprised that it granted the latest one as the pre-trial procedures for narrowing down evidence and the points of contention had yet to begin.

There is also no plea deal mechanism that would allow Mr Ghosn to agree to lesser charges for a lighter sentence.

Ghosn contends he is innocent of falsifying financial reports because the compensation he is alleged to have under-reported was never paid or decided upon.

Carlos Ghosn's face obscured by thick glasses and a surgical-type mask as he steps out of prison on bail.

Nissan declined comment on the criminal case against Ghosn but said an internal investigation had found unethical conduct.

Speaking to AFP and French daily Les Echos in January - his only interview with foreign media since his arrest - Ghosn said his continued detention "would not be normal in any other democracy".

Given the number of people involved in the complex case and their wide geographical spread, Hironaka said the case would run over a "very long time span".

"I am extremely grateful for my family and friends who have stood by me throughout this awful ordeal".

One senior prosecutor said the court's decision was based too heavily on the theory of the "fundamental good" of human nature.

But Kyodo said Mr. Ghosn could still attend board meetings at Nissan, where he remains a director, if the court gives approval.

Mr Ghosn, 64, was nearly unrecognisable as he walked out of the Tokyo Detention House in the north of the city yesterday afternoon, bizarrely disguised as a Japanese navvy in a baseball cap, a white paper mask over his mouth and blue overalls with orange high visibility stripes.

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