Detained again, Nissan ex-chief Ghosn says latest arrest is 'outrageous'


Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn, who was unexpectedly rearrested in Tokyo on Thursday, just a month after he was released on bail amid the ongoing investigation into his financial misconduct, has denied new charges brought against him as he was served with his fourth arrest warrant in less than six months.

"I don't know if he himself wrote the tweet, but he didn't violate bail conditions", said his lead lawyer Junichiro Hironaka, nicknamed "the Razor" for many high-profile cases he has won in a country where the conviction rate is 99.9 per cent.

"I am a citizen caught up in an unbelievable chain of events", he said.

"My arrest this morning is outrageous and arbitrary", Ghosn said in the statement. "I am confident that if tried fairly, I will be vindicated", he said.

Ghosn's spokesman has previously said payments of $32 million made over nine years were rewards for the Oman firm being a top Nissan dealer.

Evidence sent to French prosecutors late last week showed that much of the cash was subsequently channelled to a Lebanese company controlled by Ghosn associates, the sources said. "In most cases, re-arrest would occur immediately following bail", said Nobuo Gohara, a lawyer who heads Gohara Compliance and Law Office, which is not involved in the Ghosn case.

Ghosn was Nissan's chief executive officer at the time, and the payments to the dealership, Suhail Bahwan Automobiles (SBA), were allegedly made via Nissan Middle East, a consolidated Nissan subsidiary based in the United Arab Emirates.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that executives at Nissan had taken steps to imprison Ghosn in the hopes his arrest would stall or kill any attempts to merge the Japanese automaker with its French counterpart Renault(RNO-FR).

"The arrest is, in a sense, a way to keep Mr. Ghosn's mouth shut" by holding him in custody, Hironaka said at a packed press conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, in Tokyo.

It was the latest twist in a rollercoaster drama that has gripped Japan and the rest of the world since his shock arrest at a Tokyo Airport on November 19.

Financial misconduct charges: The 65-year-old has been accused of under-reporting his income by 5 billion yen (€40 million, $44 million) from 2010-2015. Such detentions have been criticized as "hostage justice" meant to get confessions.

The prosecutors have yet to say whether Ghosn has commented on the new allegation.

They suspect Dollars 5 million of that amount was used by Ghosn for personal expenditure.

Reports emerged this week that Japanese prosecutors were investigating transfers by Ghosn of over $30 million of Nissan funds from 2012.

Ghosn denied any wrongdoing and vowed he "would not be broken".

Ghosn now faces two separate charges of deferring his salary to the tune of 9 billion yen ($81 million) and not revealing this in official documents to shareholders. "Press conference on Thursday, April 11", Ghosn, widely regarded as being the brain and brawn behind Nissan's rapid turnaround from near-bankruptcy since 1999, tweeted on Wednesday.

The maker of the March subcompact, Leaf electric auto and Infiniti luxury models will hold a shareholders' meeting next week to oust Ghosn from its board.

"Nissan's internal investigation has uncovered substantial evidence of blatantly unethical conduct", said company spokesman Nicholas Maxfield.