Former Nissan head Carlos Ghosn granted bail for a billion yen

The ex-chief executive of the car company could be released as early as today

Mr Ghosn has been in jail for more than 100 days for misuse of company funds. Reuters
Mr Ghosn has been in jail for more than 100 days for misuse of company funds. Reuters

Carlos Ghosn, the former chief executive of Nissan and Renault who has been detained for more than 100 days, was granted bail for ¥1 billion (Dh32.8 million), the Japanese media reported.

Japanese prosecutors have appealed against the Tokyo District Court's decision to approve the executive's request for release from detention, the court said on Tuesday, said Reuters.

Mr Ghosn, who has been in custody since November 19, had two earlier bail applications rejected. In February, the executive who led Nissan for two decades, changed his lawyer and hired one of Japan's top defence advocates.

Mr Ghosn, 64, who holds French and Lebanese citizenship, could be released as early as today.

The car industry veteran, who oversaw the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance that produces about 11 million cars annually, was arrested for understating his earnings and misusing Nissan funds to purchase properties in four cities outside Japan. Mr Ghosn has denied any claims of wrongdoing. In his first court appearance in January, the former chief executive said he was a target and victim of corporate politics.

“I have been wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated accusations,” he said. “I have acted honorably, legally and with the knowledge and approval of the appropriate executives inside the company – with the sole purpose of strengthening Nissan.”

In January, Mr Ghosn said his removal was a result of “plot and treason” by colleagues at the company who objected to a closer tie-up with Mitsubishi and France’s Renault, under a new holding company.

The fall of Mr Ghosn and the speed at which Nissan chief executive Hiroto Saikawa turned on his mentor raised speculation by the French and Japanese media of a coup to remove him and set the stage for a power struggle between Nissan and Renault, over control of the world's biggest car alliance. Nissan is unhappy with what it perceives as a junior partner status, according to Japanese media.

The French government owns about 15 per cent of Renault, which in turn controls 43.4 per cent of Nissan. Nissan holds only a 15 per cent non-voting stake in its French partner.

The prolonged detention of Mr Ghosn has brought attention to Japan’s judicial system, which allows indefinite detention of people. Mr Ghosn was not allowed to meet or communicate with family members, and his repeated requests for bail were denied by Japanese authorities. Mr Ghosn had also offered to wear an ankle tracking device and personally pay for security.

Updated: March 5, 2019 08:08 PM


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