Ghosn set for bail bid as prosecutors prepare charges
Nikkei -- Jan 11
Carlos Ghosn will petition again Friday for release from a Japanese jail, even as Tokyo prosecutors are widely expected to lay new charges against the former Nissan Motor boss for breach of trust.

The bid comes just days after the Brazilian-born tycoon made an extraordinary appearance in Tokyo's District Court on Tuesday to set out for the first time his defense against allegations of financial wrongdoing while at the helm of the Japanese carmaker. Criminal lawyers are divided over whether his arguments have strengthened his case.

Ghosn has been held at the Tokyo Detention Center since Nov. 19, when prosecutors arrested him on allegations that he underreported his salary over several years. He was charged on Dec. 10. The prosecutors are expected on Friday to bring a new charge of aggravated breach of trust against Ghosn for allegedly transferring to Nissan personal trading losses from foreign exchange contracts.

Ghosn has denied all charges, and his lawyers are expected to appeal Friday for his release on bail. Should the court grant the request, Ghosn would not be released until next week, lawyers suggested.

In his statement to the court this week, Ghosn argued that he has been "unfairly detained." He denied underreporting his salary and said the foreign exchange contracts were related to the company's insistence that he be paid in Japanese currency. He entered into the contracts, using Nissan shares as collateral, to protect himself against currency movements, as his expenses were all in dollars. Nissan had taken on the collateral temporarily when its shares tumbled after the onset of the global financial crisis in October 2008, but the shares were returned and the company had suffered no financial losses, Ghosn said.

Hiroshi Kadono, a criminal lawyer and former judge, told the Nikkei Asian Review that Ghosn's statement had "presented a different story from that of the prosecutors," which was "logical and something that cannot be ignored."

Nobuo Gohara, an ex-prosecutor, said the former Nissan boss's defense "was sufficient to claim that he is being unjustly held in detention."

However, Yasuyuki Takai, another ex-prosecutor, disagreed. He said Ghosn had failed to present "anything specific" that pointed to substantial evidence. "It was not convincing," Takai said.

News source: Nikkei
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