Ghosn has been in police custody since November 19.
Reports have been circulating in the past few weeks whether ex-Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn, arrested back in November for allegations of intentionally misstating several million in income for years, would soon be free on bail. Now, prosecutors indicted the ousted executive again Friday. They’ve since added two more charges including aggravated breach of trust for temporarily transferring his personal trading losses to the company in 2008, and understating more of his income for three years through March 2018. Earlier charges alleged he underreported his income during an earlier timeframe.
Ghosn’s attorneys were petitioning for his release before these new revelations. However, as slim as those chances were before these new charges, he may now remain in prison much longer. Prosecutors said Friday he could remain in jail for another two months. Ghosn made his first pubic appearance last week, as authorities led him into a court room in handcuffs with a rope tied around his waist, according to a Bloomberg report. He vehemently denied the charges against him, saying “I have always acted with integrity and have never been accused of any wrongdoing in my several-decade professional career (quote from The Guardian)”.
Reports have also surfaced about Ghosn’s failing health during his five weeks in custody. That has prompted criticism of Japan’s criminal justice system and its treatment of detainees. According to a report by The Guardian, authorities originally confined Ghosn to a small cell and slept on a futon. However, his attorneys stated Japanese authorities moved him to a larger cell with a bed. His wife also stated she was concerned for his health, as he reportedly came down with a fever Wednesday evening. Ghosn has not been allowed contact with his family since his arrest on November 19.
Courts have not yet set a date for his trial. Ghosn’s attorney Motonari Otsuru said it could be at least six months before the court begins proceedings. “Generally speaking, it’s extremely rare for a court to grant bail before a trail begins,” Otsuru told reporters.
As it stands, allegations against Ghosn have cast doubt over the alliance he helped forge in his years at the helm. He’s largely been credited with bringing Nissan back from the brink and building the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. On Thursday, Renault said it hadn’t found any evidence of illegal or fraudulent payments to Ghosn during the timeframe of these new allegations, according to the Guardian‘s report. It also added its audit was ongoing.
Japanese authorities released Ghosn’s alleged co-conspirator in the earlier underreporting charges, former Nissan executive Greg Kelly on bail Christmas Day.