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Nissan’s Former Chairman Seeks Bail

Ghosn and Kelly have denied all charges. Nissan said it regretted any concern caused to its stakeholders

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A court sketch, drawn by Nobutoshi Katsuyama, shows ousted Nissan Motor Co Ltd chairman Carlos Ghosn during an open hearing at Tokyo District Court in Japan, Jan. 8, 2019.(voa)

Nissan’s former Chairman Carlos Ghosn has requested his release on bail after being indicted in Tokyo Friday on two new charges, his lawyers said, as the once-feted auto executive awaits a lengthy criminal trial that could be as long as six months away.

Ghosn was the overlord of an alliance that included Nissan Motor, Mitsubishi Motors and France’s Renault, until his surprise November arrest and removal as chairman of both Japanese automakers sent shockwaves through the industry.

The former executive, lauded for rescuing Nissan from the financial brink two decades ago, was charged with aggravated breach of trust for temporarily transferring personal investment losses to Nissan in 2008.

Ghosn, former Representative Director Greg Kelly and Nissan itself were also charged for understating Ghosn’s income for three years through March 2018. The three parties have been indicted for the same charge covering the years 2010-2015.

Ghosn and Kelly have denied all charges. Nissan said it regretted any concern caused to its stakeholders.

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Japan

Bail is rare

It is rare in Japan for defendants who deny their charges to be granted bail ahead of trial. Kelly posted bail on Christmas Day and is unable to leave Japan without special permission.

Ghosn’s lawyer, Motonari Otsuru, expects his client to be held until trial, which he said could begin in about six months.

If bail is granted, Ghosn, who is suffering from fever, according to his lawyer, would not likely be released until Tuesday given that Monday is public holiday.

Kelly, a Ghosn ally, was hospitalized for treatment of a pre-existing neck problem after his release and has since been discharged, said his lawyer Yoichi Kitamura.

“This second indictment for Kelly comes as no surprise as it merely makes what was a five year period for the first into eight years,” Kitamura said.

Kitamura said he expects Ghosn and Kelly to be tried together on the two charges of understating income, and that he will work closely with Ghosn’s legal team.

Nissan complaint

Also Friday, Nissan said it had filed a criminal complaint against its former leader.

The automaker, in a statement, said it filed the complaint “on the basis of Ghosn’s misuse of a significant amount of the company’s funds. Nissan does not in any way tolerate such misconduct and calls for strict penalties.”

Ghosn, 64, appeared in court Tuesday for the first time since his arrest, looking thinner and grayer. He denied the allegations, calling them “meritless” and “unsubstantiated.”

He said he had asked Nissan to temporarily take on his foreign exchange contracts after the 2008-2009 financial crisis prompted his bank to call for more collateral. He said he did so to avoid having to resign and use his retirement allowance for collateral.

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Ghosn’s lawyer Otsuru on Tuesday said Nissan had agreed to the arrangement on condition that any losses or gains would be Ghosn’s. Ghosn said the contracts were transferred back to him and that Nissan did not incur a loss.

On Thursday, the boards of Nissan and controlling shareholder Renault, where Ghosn remains chairman, met for an update on the matter. Nissan later said it remained committed to the alliance. (VOA)

Next Story

Japan, China to Agree on Giant Panda Breeding Research

The signing is intended to showcase the continuing thaw in bilateral relations that have been frayed

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Japan, China, Giant Panda, Breeding
Candidate zoos for a new giant panda have already been discussed and they include facilities in Miyagi and Hyogo prefectures. Pixabay

Japan and China are planning to cooperate on breeding research for giant pandas by signing a memorandum later this month when their leaders meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka, the media reported.

The signing is intended to showcase the continuing thaw in bilateral relations that have been frayed over territorial and historical issues and paves the way for China’s future lease of another giant panda at the request of Japan, The Japan Times quoted sources as saying on Wednesday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to make his first visit to Japan since he came to power in 2013 and a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is being arranged on the sidelines of the June 28 and 29 summit.

According to the report, the memorandum will state that Japan’s Foreign Ministry and Environment Ministry and China’s National Forestry and Grassland Administration will cooperate over giant panda breeding.

Japan, China, Giant Panda, Breeding
Japan and China are planning to cooperate on breeding research for giant pandas. Pixabay

It will also enable the two countries to jointly cope with diseases and other breeding problems faced by giant pandas, including those already leased to Japan.

Giant pandas from China are seen as symbols of bilateral friendship. There are now 10 giant pandas in Japan, including leased animals and their offspring.

Three of them reside at the Ueno Zoological Gardens in Tokyo, six live at Adventure World in Wakayama prefecture and one is a resident of Kobe Oji Zoo in Hyogo prefecture.

Most recently, the loan period for giant panda cub Xiang Xiang at Ueno zoo was extended until the end of next year. Beijing has ownership of the cub, born in 2017 at the zoo, and the animal was originally due to be returned to China this month, The Japan Times said.

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The envisioned agreement “will add impetus to efforts to secure the lease of another giant panda”, a senior Foreign Ministry official said.

Candidate zoos for a new giant panda have already been discussed and they include facilities in Miyagi and Hyogo prefectures.

The first giant pandas came to Ueno zoo in 1972 to commemorate the normalization of bilateral ties. In 2011, China expressed a willingness to lease more giant pandas to Japan but it did not materialize. (IANS)