Ghosn hit with more charges, release unlikely

French media Ghosn may have avoided tax in France

On Tuesday, Ghosn's lawyers said their client might remain behind bars until a trial begins, which may not happen for another six months.

The Yomiuri Shimbun said US$100 million was paid to sales agents in five Middle Eastern countries from Ghosn's special "CEO reserve".

Apart from prosecutors, only embassy officials and Ghosn's lawyers are allowed to visit him.

While declining to comment on specifics, Deputy Chief Prosecutor Shin Kukimoto told reporters that indicted suspects are usually detained for several months.

But Ghosn's close aide Kelly, 62, who was arrested along with the former chairman for allegedly understating remuneration, has been released on bail, while denying the allegations.

The prosecutors, meanwhile, believe Ghosn committed aggravated breach of trust the moment he transferred the contract to Nissan.

The review was initiated after Ghosn was arrested.

Ghosn has remained in custody at the Tokyo Detention House since Tokyo prosecutors arrested him on November 19 along with close American aide Greg Kelly, who has been released on bail, for allegedly understating his remuneration in Nissan securities reports submitted to Japanese regulators during a five-year period through March 2015.

He appeared gaunt with sunken cheeks in court although seemed in relatively good health despite an occasional cough. "We are fearful and very anxious his recovery will be complicated while he continues to endure such harsh conditions and unfair treatment", she said.

With the latest move, Ghosn and Kelly have been indicted for all the cases for which they were arrested.

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Japanese media reports have suggested new charges could be levied against him on Friday, which could ensure he remains jailed.

Ghosn claims he has been "wrongly accused and unfairly detained".

Ghosn's spectacular downfall following his arrest in November has shaken the worldwide auto industry and strained the alliance he built between Nissan (NSANY), Renault and Mitsubishi Motors (MMTOF).

An individual convicted of aggravated breach of trust faces a fine of up to 10 million yen and/or a maximum prison term of 10 years.

His arrest came after a months-long investigation by Nissan into his conduct, a probe that was largely kept from its French partner.

That lack of transparency and concern that Nissan will use Ghosn's absence to push for more power within the alliance has heightened tensions between the two automakers.

Nissan's board removed Ghosn from the post of chairman on November 22, 2018 and ejected American citizen Kelly from his position as a representative director.

Renault, which is the biggest shareholder in Nissan, has refrained from removing Ghosn, instead appointing interim replacements.

Renault said in a statement Thursday that an internal investigation found all payments to its board members in 2017 and 2018 were in compliance with the law and "free from any fraud".

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