TOKYO: Japanese authorities today hit former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn with a fresh charge of aggravated breach of trust, the fourth formal indictment against the auto sector tycoon.
Hours after prosecutors filed the new indictment, Ghosn’s legal team requested the executive be released on bail.
The 65-year-old strenuously denies all allegations against him and insists they have been cooked up in a “plot” by Nissan executives wary of his plans to bring the Japanese car giant closer to its French partner Renault.
According to a statement from the Tokyo’s prosecutors’ office, Ghosn is accused of funneling millions of dollars in Nissan funds to a dealership in the Middle East and siphoning off around five million dollars for personal use.
The transfers were made “with the purpose of benefiting himself by receiving part of the money”, allege prosecutors.
Shin Kukimoto from the Tokyo prosecutors’ office told reporters in Tokyo the indictments were filed “after we collected enough evidence for guilty verdicts”.
Nissan itself said it had filed a criminal complaint against its former boss “after determining that payments made by Nissan to an overseas vehicle sales company via a subsidiary were in fact directed by Ghosn for his personal enrichment and were not necessary from a business standpoint”.
Experts believe these are the most serious charges yet against Ghosn since he was dramatically arrested on November 19 as he landed in his private jet at a Tokyo airport.
Ghosn has already won bail once before — but under strict conditions such as agreeing not to leave the country and living under surveillance.
When he last won bail, Ghosn walked out of the detention center in front of the world’s media dressed like a Japanese laborer with a cap and a face mask in an apparent attempt to give reporters the slip.
The rollercoaster case of the executive, once revered in Japan for saving Nissan from the brink of bankruptcy, has gripped the business world and shone a spotlight on the Japanese legal system that has come in for some criticism, especially from abroad.
Japan’s justice system allows authorities to keep suspects in custody for prolonged periods and trials almost always result in a conviction — sparking outrage from outside the country.
Monday was the end of the maximum period authorities had to question Ghosn, who is now technically in pre-trial detention.
The Ghosn case represents a precipitous downfall for an executive who has gone from a life of luxury and private jets as he ran three huge car companies to a small cell.
Nissan says an internal investigation uncovered “substantial evidence of blatantly unethical conduct” by the former chairman.
He has already been stripped of his position on the board at Nissan and resigned from the head of Renault and the three-way alliance the two companies share with Mitsubishi Motors.
His wife Carole has also been questioned by prosecutors in Tokyo.
She was allegedly president of a company registered in the British Virgin Islands which received some of the five million dollars moved from Nissan funds to go towards a luxury yacht.
She has also denied any wrongdoing, and been active in the media in recent days — writing an opinion piece in the Washington Post calling on US President Donald Trump to lean on Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe to allow her husband to obtain bail.
Ghosn’s lawyers have expression reservations that he will receive a fair trial as 99 percent of all cases that come to trial end in a conviction.
Carole Ghosn has also said she is concerned about her husband’s health in conditions in the Japanese jail that Ghosn himself said he would not wish on his “worst enemy”.
His lawyers in Paris have urged the French government to insist he be tried in France as a fair trial would “only be possible” there.
Prosecutor Kukimoto said: “His treatment is not different to what a normal Japanese national would receive.”
At UN, Pakistan chastises India for rights abuse in Kashmir
UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan on Thursday brought into sharp focus of the world community the atrocities being committed by Indian occupation forces in Jammu and Kashmir, and urged the UN Security Council to resolve long-standing conflicts on its agenda.
“Inaction by the Security Council in cases of foreign aggression and occupation comes at a high human cost,”Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said in an open Council debate on ‘Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict’, referring to the continuing violations of International Humanitarian Law by warring parties with impunity.
“In Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” the Pakistani envoy said, “the occupying forces continue to show utter disregard for human life by systematically violating the fundamental norms of international humanitarian law and by using civilians as human shields.
“Worse, perpetrators who commit such crimes are not only protected under black laws, but are honoured by the military command.”
The rules of conduct in armed conflict are clearly codified in the 1949 Geneva Conventions and additional protocols and constitute the bedrock of international humanitarian law, she said. Yet this law continues to be flouted whenever and wherever hostilities break, with women bearing the brunt of the atrocities.
“Whether it is plausible deniability or abuse, the grim reality is, when the beast of conflict roars, legal regimes fall silent,” Ambassador Lodhi told the Security Council.
Today, she said, targeted attacks, sexual violence, forced conscription, torture, indiscriminate killings and gross human rights violations were used cynically as tools of war in conflicts.
PM Modi will play role in improving relations with Pakistan: Indian HC
MUMBAI: Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria on Friday has assured that re-elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi will play his key role in improving relations with Pakistan.
In a statement, the Indian envoy said that both countries need to take solid measures to overcome the hostile relations.
He further announced that talks on Kartarpur Corridor will be held on May 27.
The statement of the High Commission to Pakistan came after Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won Lok Sabha elections 2019 with maximum number of seats.
Chinese VP to visit Pakistan this week
ISLAMABAD: Vice President of the People’s Republic of China Wang Qishan will visit Pakistan from May 26 to 28.
During his visit, the Chinese vice president will call on President Arif Alvi and have a separate meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, according to a statement issued by the Foreign Office today.
Pakistan and China will ink several memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and inaugurate projects to enhance bilateral cooperation in a broad range of areas.
It is noteworthy that the Chinese vice president is a member of 13th National People’s Congress of China and Central Foreign Affairs Commission, a key Foreign Affairs body of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
His visit underscores the vitality of the time-tested and all-weather relationship between Pakistan and China. It would reinforce the strength of bilateral ties and impart further impetus to the growing, multi-faceted cooperation between the two countries in diverse fields.