TOKYO (AP) – Former Nissan president Carlos Ghosn has been accused of breach of trust on Friday, according to the Tokyo District Court, making the release of the star leader unlikely for the coming months.
Ghosn, arrested on November 19, had previously been accused of falsifying financial reports by under-reporting his income of about 5 billion yen ($ 44 million) over five years until 2015. .
Ghosn; Greg Kelly, another Nissan executive; and Nissan as a legal entity were also accused Friday of further underreporting of their 2015 earnings in mid-2018.
Ghosn's lawyer, Motonari Ohtsuru, called for Ghosn's bail. His detention period for the allegations of breach of trust would have expired on Friday if charges had not been filed.
Kelly and Nissan have not been charged with breach of trust. These allegations relate mainly to Ghosn's treatment of investment losses and payments to a Saudi businessman.
Ghosn, 64, says he is innocent.
The suspects are regularly arrested in Japan for months until the start of the trials. Prosecutors in Tokyo say Ghosn, a French-born Lebanese born in Brazil, represents a risk of flight.
Earlier this week, Ghosn had declared in a Tokyo court that he was innocent during his first public appearance since his arrest and called for an end to his detention. But the court rejected this request.
"I have a sincere love and appreciation for Nissan," Ghosn told the court. "In all my efforts on behalf of the company, I have acted with honor, law and with the knowledge and approval of the appropriate executives of the company."
He added that the compensation had never been decided, that the investment agreement had never resulted in losses for Nissan and that the payments to the man of The Saudi case involved legitimate services related to concessionaires and investments in the Gulf.
Ghosn remains the CEO of Nissan's alliance partner, Renault, although he has been dismissed as Chairman of Nissan's board and allied company, Mitsubishi Motor Co.
Renault has been trapped by Ghosn since his arrest, but faces pressure to find a successor when his prison sentence runs out and the number of issues related to the executive compensation systems used by the automaker and the companies. associated companies continues to grow.
Renault's board of directors held a special meeting on Thursday night to discuss internal reviews of executive compensation following the arrest of Ghosn. He stated that no fraud had been discovered in 2017-2018, but he still reviews the previous years. Its shares fell slightly on Friday morning after these announcements.
Ghosn, who appeared much thinner than before his arrest, had a fever the day after his court appearance, but has since recovered, said Ohtsuru's lawyer.
His wife Carole Ghosn issued a statement in the night from Paris, expressing concern about his illness.
"I beg the Japanese authorities to provide us with any information on my husband's health. We are fearful and very concerned that his recovery is complicated if he continues to experience such difficult conditions and unfair treatment, "she said.
Except prosecutors, only embassy officials and Ghosn's lawyers are allowed to visit him. These visits were canceled on Thursday but resumed on Friday.
Deputy Attorney General Shin Kukimoto told reporters that indicted suspects are usually detained for several months.
"We think there were enough charges and lawsuits," he said in the Ghosn case, "and he will be guilty."
Ghosn has been interrogated daily but will only be interviewed with his consent, Kukimoto said.
The maximum fine for falsifying financial reports and breach of trust is 15 years in prison, a fine of 10 million yen ($ 89,000), or both.
The charge of breach of trust alleges that transactions of an amount of 1.8 billion yen ($ 16.7 million) were caused to Nissan through operations carried out by Ghosn and that $ 14.7 million was paid to a Saudi businessman.
Ghosn announced a new compensation of 2.9 billion yen ($ 26.9 million), while it had earned more than 7.1 billion yen ($ 65.7 million) over the past three years. years ending in June 2018.
Before his sudden fall, Mr. Ghosn was a respected figure in the global auto industry. He had saved the Japanese automaker from near bankruptcy, allowing it to expand its sales operations and make profits, as well as its pioneering eco-friendly vehicles.
According to Nissan, an internal investigation was opened in mid-2018 after the launch of the alert launchers. Nissan chief executive Hiroto Saikawa denounced Ghosn, accusing him of using the company's money and assets for personal gain.
The company said in a statement that it was taking the latest accusations seriously and strengthening governance. He repeated harsh words against Ghosn.
"Nissan filed the criminal complaint for Ghosn's misuse of a significant amount of the company's funds. Nissan does not tolerate such conduct in any way and calls for tough sanctions, "he said.