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Ex-Nissan chairman Ghosn hit with new arrest warrant for aggravated breach of trust

Carlos Ghosn (Mainichi/Noriko Tokuno)

TOKYO -- The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office served a fresh arrest warrant on Dec. 21 accusing former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn of aggravated breach of trust under the Companies Act.

The move comes after the Tokyo District Court dismissed prosecutors' request for an extension of his detention on Dec. 20 and just as Ghosn was preparing to ask the court to release him on bail.

The new arrest warrant accuses Ghosn of shifting approximately 1.85 billion yen in investment losses he suffered himself to Nissan in October 2008. The massive losses were generated from a contract over derivative transactions that his asset management company had concluded with a bank.

Moreover, Ghosn is suspected of having $14.7 million, or some 1.63 billion yen, transferred from a bank account held in the name of a Nissan subsidiary to an account he designated on four occasions between 2009 and 2012.

Ghosn earlier told his lawyer that he had planned to shift the investment losses to the company but stopped short of doing so.

The statute of limitations for aggravated breach of trust is seven years, but the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office's special investigation unit probing the case has apparently deemed that the statute of limitations does not include the time he was overseas.

Ghosn, 64, and Greg Kelly, 62, former representative director of Nissan, were arrested on Nov. 19 and indicted on Dec. 10 on charges of violating the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act by underreporting about 5 billion yen out of the former chairman's 10 billion yen remuneration over a five-year period up to March 2015. On the same day, prosecutors served fresh arrest warrants accusing Ghosn and Kelly of violating the same law by similarly underreporting the former's remuneration by some 4 billion yen over a three-year period until March 2018.

Prosecutors had apparently intended to indict the pair on Dec. 28, immediately before the year-end and New Year's vacation period, on charges of underreporting the former chairman's remuneration by some 4 billion yen.

However, the court's decision to dismiss the prosecutors' request for an extension of the suspects' detention is believed to have prompted them to change their investigation plan.

Unlike Ghosn, Kelly was not hit with a new arrest warrant on Dec. 21, and his defense lawyer has asked the court to release him on bail.

(Japanese original by Kenji Tatsumi, Kazuhiro Toyama and Kim Suyeong, City News Department)

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