Carlos Ghosn, the former big boss of the Automaker Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi, will be released from custody. On Tuesday, 107th day of detention in Tokyo, the Tokyo District Court accepted Ghosn’s third application for bail on Tuesday and turned down an objection from the prosecutor’s office at noon. Ghosn will be released at the earliest this Wednesday under strict conditions.
He is not allowed to leave the country, he has to accept a video surveillance and is only allowed to use his mobile phone and computer. His lawyers had offered these conditions to wipe out the charge that the manager could manipulate evidence or potential witnesses.
Ghosn, who is about to celebrate his 65th birthday, was arrested on November 19 at the airport in Tokyo on the runway. He is accused of violating Nissan’s reporting obligations and a grave breach of trust, partly because he temporarily transferred private securities losses to Nissan.
Despite international criticism, pre-trial detention of more than three months, at least according to recent German standards in the diesel scandal, has not been exceptionally long. Rupert Stadler, the head of Audi, spent more than four months in custody before he released under conditions. Wolfgang Hatz, the former development chief of Porsche, was only released after nine months for a bail of 3 million euros.
The district court in Tokyo set the bail for Ghosn at 1 billion yen (7.9 million euros). Higher security deposits have been set in Japan in the past in a scandal involving misreported beef and a blackmail scandal. In the charges for insider trading against Yoshiaki Murakami in 2006 and Takafumi Horie for accounting fraud in 2006, the bail payments were at 700 million and 500 million yen. Some financial analysts compare the Ghosn case with these two cases because innovative corporate leaders have been pilloried each time.
Ghosn is said to have allocated around 9 billion yen (about 70 million euros) of income after his departure from Nissan in a total of eight years and have not published these in Nissan’s financial reports. The allegation of a serious breach of trust relates to the temporary transfer of lossy securities, which Ghosn has pledged a financial risk of 1.85 billion yen (15 million euros). This includes allegations of Nissan’s payments to a businessman in Saudi Arabia who helped Ghosn financially. Ghosn denies the allegations.
He has stated in interviews from the prison that he sees himself as a victim of a conspiracy. It is speculated that Nissan executives toppled him with the Japanese government’s placements to prevent the Japanese company from losing its independence in a merger with Renault.
Ghosn had been boss for too long, journalists said Tuesday. Hiroaki Nakanishi, head of the Japanese trade association Keidanren and chairman of the board of directors of Hitachi. Nakanishi suspects that Ghosn has become too powerful because of his long tenure and can no longer control it. His explanation coincides with Nissan’s accounts of how it came to scandal. Nakanishi did not want to speculate on the possible influence of the Japanese government on the overthrow of Ghosn.