In his first court hearing since the arrest in November 2018, Carlos Ghosn, former Chairman and CEO of Nissan, claimed that he is being wrongly accused of committing serious financial misconduct. The popular automotive executive was arrested in Japan and charged with series of financial offenses.
The court hearing which took place in Tokyo was a result of his legal team’s request to explain his prolonged detention. In response, the judge Yuichi Tada stated that it was because Ghosn was considered to be flight risk.
Ghosn’s legal team issued a prepared statement to the court, he said that he is being wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated accusations. He highlighted that he has never been accused of any wrong doing in his several decades of professional experience.
Reports claim that Ghosn was taken to court in handcuffs and with a rope around his waist. This seems to be an overkill for a person who is accused of financial crimes. It is also being said that the executive appeared significantly thinner.
He also added that he always acted honorably, legally and with full knowledge and approval of appropriate executives within Nissan. Ghosn denied the charge that he under-reported his salary and said that he never received any compensation from Nissan that was not disclosed, nor did he ever enter into any binding contract with the company to be paid a fixed undisclosed amount.
He also rebutted the charge that he moved personal investment loses of 1.85 billion yen to Nissan. Ghosn revealed that he did ask the company to take on the collateral temporarily owing to his foreign exchange contracts but claims that Nissan did not lose any money through this move.
He also denied the accusation that he used Nissan’s funds to pay Khaled Juffali, a Saudi businessman for a letter of credit to help with his investment loses. This was supported by the statement released by representatives of Khaled Juffali Company which claims that the said funding received from Nissan was used for legitimate business purposes.
Mr Ghosn’s detention period ends on 11th Jan. But it is unlikely that he will be granted bail after the detention period. As per a lawyer, Japan court usually does not grant bail in such cases until the first trial. And it could be 6 months more for the trial to take place. This means, Mr Ghosn could have to stay in jail for 6 more months. If found guilty, Mr Ghosn faces up to 10 years in prison as well as a fine of up to 700m yen ($6.4m; £5m, Rs 42 cr).