In this image made from video released by Carlos Ghosn via his lawyer on April 9, 2019, former Nissan chairman Ghosn speaks on camera in Tokyo. Japanese media reported Monday, April 22, 2019 that Ghosn was indicted on new breach of trust charges. (Carlos Ghosn via AP)

New indictment expands case against Nissan ex-chair Ghosn

April 22, 2019 - 2:33 am

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese prosecutors said Monday they have indicted Nissan's former chairman Carlos Ghosn with additional charges of breach of trust, with his alleged misconduct expanding outside Japan.

The charges filed Monday are his fourth. They are related to payments by a subsidiary of the Japanese automaker that allegedly went to a private investment company controlled by Ghosn.

Prosecutors would not confirm details of the charges. The indictment was expected and it ensures he will remain in detention longer. His current period of detention would have expired Monday if he had not been charged.

Nissan Motor Co. said Monday in a statement that it had filed a criminal complaint against Ghosn related to the indictment. It said it had determined that the payments in question "were in fact directed by Ghosn for his personal enrichment and were not necessary from a business standpoint."

"Such misconduct is completely unacceptable, and Nissan is requesting appropriately strict penalties," it said.

Ghosn, 65, was arrested in November. He says he is innocent of all financial misconduct charges against him.

Prosecutors re-arrested Ghosn in early April, a month after he was released on 1 billion yen ($9 million) bail pending his trial. He is being held at the Tokyo Detention House for questioning about the latest set of charges against him. His lawyers have said they will again seek his release on bail.

The prosecutors allege that $2.5 million out of $5 million paid by Nissan to one of its overseas distributorships went to Ghosn's investment company for his private use.

Japanese media have reported that the funds allegedly were used to pay for a yacht, among other things.

Ghosn has said that payments prosecutors say amounted to breach of trust were legitimate business transactions. He also contends that the charge that he underreported compensation involves payments that were never paid or decided.

Rearrests of a suspect released on bail, allowed only after indictment, are unusual. The handling of Ghosn's case has triggered criticism of Japan's criminal justice system, where lengthy detentions of suspects during investigations are routine.

Nissan's French alliance partner Renault SA sent Ghosn, a citizen of Brazil, France and Lebanon, to the Japanese automaker to turn it around when it was on the brink of bankruptcy 20 years ago. Nissan is 43% owned by Renault, which is partly owned by the French government.

In a video statement released this month after his arrest, Ghosn accused some Nissan executives of plotting against him out of fears that Renault would take over the Japanese car maker.

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