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Ghosn denies wrongdoing in 1st court appearance; judge says detention appropriate

Judge Yuichi Tada, second from left, Motonari Otsuru, third from right, chief lawyer of the legal team for former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn, sit in a courtroom ahead of a court hearing on a case of Ghosn at the Tokyo District Court in Tokyo on Jan. 8, 2019. (Kiyoshi Ota/Pool Photo via AP)

TOKYO -- Former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn appeared in a hearing at the Tokyo District Court on Jan. 8, making his first public appearance since his arrest in November on suspicion of underreporting his remuneration by billions of yen in violation of the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act.

Judge Yuichi Tada of the court told Ghosn that the court approved his detention because "substantial reasons" were presented by prosecutors giving rise to "suspicion that the suspect, based on his testimonies, would try to destroy evidence by reaching out to relevant people."

Ghosn, clad in a black suit and speaking in English through an interpreter, denied he committed any wrongdoing, saying the charges were unfounded.

The hearing, which commenced at 10:30 a.m., was held at the request of Ghosn's lawyer to disclose the reason for the elite businessman's detention on suspicion of aggravated breach of trust.

The former Nissan chairman has been indicted in connection with the underreporting charges. His lawyer, who is poised to ask the district court to cancel his detention, will hold a news conference later in the day.

Ghosn faces a number of charges, including aggravated breach of trust linked to his alleged transfer of personal investment losses to the major automaker in 2008 in violation of the Companies Act.

Ghosn and his close aide, former Nissan representative director Greg Kelly, 62, were first arrested on Nov. 19 by Tokyo prosecutors on suspicion of underreporting some 5 billion yen in Ghosn's executive remuneration from fiscal 2010 through 2014. The two were indicted over those suspicions on Dec. 10 last year. Ghosn and Kelly were served fresh warrants on another underreporting allegation totaling some 4 billion yen from fiscal 2015 through 2017.


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