Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn rearrested on new charge

Japanese court denies extended detention of former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn

Japanese prosecutors have re-arrested Nissan Motor Co's ousted chairman Carlos Ghosn for aggravated breach of trust, which means he could be detained for another 10 days, media reported on Friday.

The Tokyo prosecutor said the fresh allegations were based on suspicions that around October 2008, Ghosn shifted personal trades to the automaker so that he could avoid paying for 1.85bn yen ($16.6m) in losses.

The allegations against him relate to the disclose of compensation worth tens of millions of dollars that he had allegedly arranged to receive later. The email in question was part of a discussion in which other individuals were considering payment to Ghosn through Renault-Nissan BV in a way that was legally appropriate, a lawyer for Kelly said.

"I was a prosecutor for a long time and never heard of such a decision", he said, adding that the court may have been swayed by criticism from overseas regarding Ghosn's lengthy detention.

Mr Ghosn's detention has also put into doubt the future of the Alliance - a global auto manufacturing group that includes Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi.

Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors promptly sacked the tycoon as chairman but Renault kept him on and appointed an interim boss as it waited to assess the legal procedures against him.

Nissan, which has also been indicted in the case, said the alleged misconduct was first brought to its attention by a whistleblower, which led to an internal investigation that uncovered serious problems.

The Tokyo court said in a statement that the lawyer for Greg Kelly, who was arrested along with Ghosn, has requested the release of Ghosn's former deputy.

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The court had widely been expected to extend the detention, as granting bail to suspects who insist on their innocence is highly unusual in Japan. He was later re-arrested for a similar alleged crime covering the past three years.

Ghosn's lawyers have previously denied such suspected wrongdoing, which was reported by the Asahi newspaper last month but wasn't part of the original indictment last week.

Saikawa was asked by reporters on the day Ghosn and Kelly were arrested whether a coup was underway at Nissan.

Ghosn was originally arrested on November 19, and he and Nissan were indicted on December 10 for falsifying securities reports which under-reporting his income by tens of millions of dollars.

The maximum penalty for violating the financial law is up to 10 years in prison, a 10 million yen (£70,000) fine, or both. But on Thursday it decided not to extend the detentions of Ghosn and former Nissan director Greg Kelly for 10 additional days on the previous allegations. Aubrey Harwell, the USA lawyer for Kelly, an American, says he is innocent, and that Nissan insiders and outside experts had advised him the financial reporting was proper. It has put off a decision on Ghosn's replacement.

Nissan has shunned demands from Renault to hold a shareholder meeting which would enable the French automaker to weigh in on Nissan's selection of Ghosn's replacement and other executive positions.

The Nissan spokesman said the company can't comment on "the sequence of events leading to Kelly's detention by the Prosecutors Office, who acted at their discretion".

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