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Nissan News: Ghosn Makes His First Appearance In Court

William Maley

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Today in a Tokyo courtroom, former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn arrived for a hearing to have an explanation of why he is being detained. The hearing also allowed Ghosn and his team of lawyers to make their case against the various charges brought against him.

Since November 19th, Ghosn has been in detention on violating various financial rules including failing to report 5 billion yen (about $44 million) from the 2010-2014 fiscal years.

Ghosn's lawyers got their day in court via a "rarely used Japanese legal maneuver in which suspects are allowed to petition the court to hear a justification of their detention." According to Automotive News, Ghosn entered the courtroom "in handcuffs, wearing a dark suit with no tie and green plastic slippers. The usually immaculately coiffed businessman looked thinner than usual, courtesy of his rice-heavy diet in detention. The gray roots of his trademark raven black hair were beginning to show." Presiding judge Yuichi Tada read out the charges and explained to Ghosn that he is being detained due to being "a flight risk and might tamper with evidence."

After this, Ghosn and his lawyers made their defense against the charges brought by Japanese prosecutors. 

“Contrary to the accusations made by the prosecutors, I never received any compensation from Nissan that was not disclosed, nor did I ever enter into any binding contract with Nissan to be paid a fixed amount that was not disclosed. The test is the ‘death test’: If I died today, could my heirs require Nissan to pay anything other than my retirement allowance?  The answer is an unequivocal ‘No,'” Ghosn said at the hearing on the first indictment on not reporting compensation.

Ghosn also addressed his most recent arrest on "allegedly transferring personal losses" to Nissan. He admitted in court "to leveraging Nissan as collateral against his swap losses but said that the loss-making swap contracts were transferred back to him at no cost to Nissan."

“I have a genuine love and appreciation for Nissan. I have acted honorably, legally, and with the knowledge and approval of the appropriate executives inside the company -- with the sole purpose of supporting and strengthening Nissan, and helping to restore its place as one of Japan’s finest and most respected companies,” Ghosn said towards the end of the hearing.

Whether this helps remains to be seen. Ghosn's lawyers are planning to petition the court to immediately end his detention later this week, but they are doubtful. At a press conference, lead defense attorney Motonari Otsuru said his cilent "would likely be indicted for a second time on Friday and be denied bail, keeping him locked up." Otsuru also predicted that Ghosn's case may not be brought to trial for another six months, allowing prosecutors to gather more evidence.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Bloomberg

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Ghosn is done in the auto industry, done in Japan, Pretty much done everywhere and I wonder if he will ever leave Japan once they sentence him. His family better move and hid away his wealth as anything tide to his name my gut tells me will be confiscated. Bye Bye Ghosn.

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