Nissan top exec Munoz resigns amid broadened Ghosn probe

Ghosn is unlikely to taste freedom any time soon

Ghosn is unlikely to taste freedom any time soon

Tokyo prosecutors are expected on Friday to indict Ghosn on two new financial misconduct charges, adding to his legal challenges.

Ghosn, once one of the most celebrated executives in the auto industry and the anchor of Nissan's alliance with France's Renault, has been charged with under-reporting his income.

Sepehri is an Iranian-born French lawyer who helped Ghosn negotiate the 1999 alliance with Nissan. The breach of trust charge is regarded as particularly serious, and Ghosn's lawyer Motonari Otsuru admitted Tuesday it would be "very difficult" to secure bail for his client. But the court rejected that request.

"The flow of the funds Mr. Ghosn moved is complicated", an individual related to Nissan told the Mainichi Shimbun. It was also discovered that a top executive at Renault close to Ghosn was also paid an unexplained sum from a three-way joint company of the automakers, "Renault-Nissan B.V".

He said the compensation was never decided on, the investment deal never resulted in any losses to Nissan, and the payments to the Saudi businessman were for legitimate services related to dealers and investments in the Gulf.

Japanese prosecutors on Thursday cancelled a scheduled interrogation of ousted Nissan Motor chairman Carlos Ghosn, who has been under arrest since November 19 for alleged financial misconduct, after he developed a high fever. Both payments were uncovered during an internal investigation at Nissan, and reported at a board meeting of the automaker on January 10. Renault abstained from taking action against Ghosn during this time. Its shares fell slightly Friday morning after those announcements. It refused to provide information. Prior to the charge being laid, Nissan filed a criminal complaint based on the same violation against Ghosn with the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office. Last month, he was indicted for under-reporting his income for an earlier period. It is rare in Japan for defendants who deny their charges to be granted bail ahead of trial.

Ghosn has been interrogated daily but now will only be questioned with his consent, Kukimoto said.

He faces a combined maximum sentence of 15 years in prison if found guilty of the charges.

Before his sudden downfall, Ghosn was a respected figure in the global auto industry, having rescued the Japanese automaker from near-bankruptcy, building its sales operations and profits and pioneering ecological vehicles.

Nissan says an internal investigation began in mid-2018 after whistleblowers came forward. Hiroto Saikawa, Nissan's chief executive and a one-time protégé of Ghosn, has rebuked his former boss, describing him as a "mastermind" of a long-running scheme to mislead financial authorities. Instead, he said, leadership will be shared among the three companies' CEOs. It reiterated harsh words against Ghosn.

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