Tokyo prosecutors indicted former Nissan Motor Co Chairman Carlos Ghosn on two new charges of financial misconduct on Friday, his lawyer said, adding to the legal challenges for the once-feted auto executive.
Ghosn was charged with aggravated breach of trust for temporarily transferring personal investment losses to Nissan in 2008, and for understating his compensation for three years, from 2015 to 2017, according to a statement from his lawyer, Motonari Otsuru.
Otsuru said his team was applying for bail to release Ghosn, who has been detained since his Nov 19 arrest. He had already been charged for under-reporting his income for the five years through 2015.
It is uncommon for defendants in Japan who deny their charges to be granted bail ahead of trial.
Otsuru earlier this week said Ghosn would likely be held until the trial which could begin in about six months. Even if bail were granted, Ghosn would not likely be released until Tuesday given that Monday is a public holiday, and all banks will be closed through the long weekend.
In a court hearing on Tuesday, Ghosn denied the accusations, calling them "meritless" and "unsubstantiated."
His lawyers, in an opinion submitted to the court, argued that Ghosn's actions, including using Nissan's financial standing as collateral to secure currency exchange swaps, were undertaken with the approval of Nissan's board and officers.
The boards of Nissan and its French 43.4 percent owner, Renault SA, met on Thursday for an update on the Ghosn investigations, with Nissan later saying in a statement it remained committed to the alliance that has strained ties between the two automakers.
At its own informal meeting, Renault said its directors were updated on the company's compliance investigation into payments to top executives.
Ghosn's wife, Carole, issued a statement on his continued detention on Thursday asking Japanese authorities for more information on her husband's health after he ran a fever, saying she was worried about his recovery.
Ghosn was arrested along with his close aide Greg Kelly, and the two were indicted on Dec 10. Kelly was released on bail on Dec 25 and his lawyer said Friday he has since undergone surgery for spinal stenosis at a hospital in Ibaraki Prefecture and moved to a residence approved by the court, Kyodo News reported. Before his arrest, he had been scheduled to undergo surgery on Dec 7 in Tennessee, his family said.
Meanwhile, Nissan has also terminated the lease to Ghosn's luxury apartment in Tokyo, his legal team said on Friday.
Nissan confirmed it had sent Ghosn's Japan-based legal team a termination notice on his residence in Azabu, one of Tokyo's priciest neighborhoods, on Monday, the latest step in ending its relationship with Ghosn, who is facing financial misconduct charges in Japan.
In the wake of Ghosn's arrest, the automaker is also planning to terminate other agreements under which it had been providing residences to Ghosn, a person with knowledge of the issue told Reuters, including the lease agreement on an apartment in Amsterdam.
In addition, it is no longer making payments on his residence in Paris, the person added on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.
Nissan was not immediately available to comment on the additional residences.
As chairman of Nissan, Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp, the globe-trotting Ghosn had access to a string of residences around the world, including additional homes in Beirut and Rio de Janeiro.© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.