Nissan ex-chair Ghosn posts bail, awaiting release in Tokyo
TOKYO — Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn was preparing to leave detention as early as Wednesday after posting 1 billion yen ($8.9 million) in bail once an appeal by prosecutors against his release was rejected.
The Tokyo District Court confirmed early afternoon Wednesday that the bail had been posted. That clears the way for him to leave the Spartan conditions of the Tokyo Detention Center, where he has been held since his Nov. 19 arrest.
A woman believed to be Ghosn’s wife Carole Ghosn was seen leaving the detention center on Wednesday.
The former head of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Motors alliance is charged with falsifying financial reports and breach of trust.
Ghosn issued a statement reasserting his innocence.
“I am innocent and totally committed to vigorously defending myself in a fair trial against these meritless and unsubstantiated accusations,” he said.
One of Ghosn’s lawyers, Junichiro Hironaka, said the legal team offered conditions for his release, such as a surveillance camera at the doorway and a promise not to use the internet. He is allowed to make voice calls, but he cannot travel abroad.
Jean-Yves Le Borgne, Ghosn’s French lawyer, cautioned that prosecutors still had leeway to file new charges.
Suspects in Japan often are detained for months, especially those who insist on their innocence, like Ghosn. Some legal experts, including Hironaka, have criticized the system as “hostage justice,” saying the long detentions tend to encourage false confessions.
Prosecutors contend that suspects may tamper with evidence and shouldn’t be released. Two of Ghosn’s earlier requests to be released on bail were rejected.
A date for his trial has not yet been set.
Ghosn says he is innocent of falsifying financial reports because the compensation he is alleged to have under-reported was never paid or decided upon. The breach of trust allegations center on a temporary transfer of Ghosn’s investment losses to Nissan’s books that he says caused no losses to the automaker. The charge also points to payments to a Saudi businessman that he says were for legitimate services.
Nissan Motor Co. declined comment on the criminal case but said an internal investigation had found unethical conduct. Nissan has dismissed Ghosn as chairman, although he remains on the board, pending a decision at a shareholders’ meeting.
Ghosn’s family has said that he has lost weight while in detention, and he looked thinner in his court appearance. Hironaka has said he is in good spirits. Ghosn thanked his family and friends, who, he said, “stood by me throughout this terrible ordeal.”