Carlos Ghosn

Trouble keeps pouring for former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn, who was rearrested early Thursday in Tokyo on fresh financial misconduct allegations.

Authorities arrested the 65-year-old less than a month after he was dramatically freed on bail following more than 100 days in detention, the latest twist in a case that has gripped Japan and the business world since November.

Ghosn was detained at the central Tokyo apartment he has called home since his release on bail, with local media later reporting he had been transferred to the Kosuge detention centre.

“Why arrest me except to try to break me? I will not be broken,” Ghosn said in a statement issued through his representatives.

“My arrest this morning is outrageous and arbitrary.”

Prosecutors said Ghosn had been detained over transfers of Nissan funds totalling $15 million between late 2015 and the middle of 2018.

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

“The suspect… was responsible for overseeing the whole of Nissan’s operations and performing his duty loyally so as not to cause losses to Nissan, but he betrayed that duty in order to benefit himself,” they said in a statement.

But Ghosn’s lawyer, who will give a press conference later Thursday, told reporters that prosecutors were engaging in “hostage justice.”

“It’s extremely unfair,” Junichiro Hironaka told local media.

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

That came after news that Renault, which Ghosn also once headed, had handed French prosecutors documents showing the auto tycoon had authorised suspicious transfers worth million of euros.

The former high-flying executive already faces three charges in Japan of financial misconduct related to allegations he under-reported his compensation and sought to transfer personal investment losses to Nissan’s books.

He has denied any wrongdoing and took to Twitter for the first time Wednesday to announce plans to “tell the truth” at an April 11 news conference that now looks unlikely.

Prosecutors can hold Ghosn for up to 22 days while they investigate the new claims before he can seek bail again.

A Nissan spokesman said the firm’s internal probe had uncovered “substantial evidence of blatantly unethical conduct” and that their focus was on “addressing weaknesses in governance that enabled this misconduct.”

Ghosn currently faces two separate charges of deferring his salary to the tune of nine billion yen ($81 million) and not revealing this in official documents to shareholders.

The Brazil-born auto sector pioneer also faces a charge of seeking to shift personal investment losses onto Nissan’s books and then using company funds to pay a Saudi associate who stumped up collateral for him.

The case has produced one surprise after another since Ghosn’s November 19 arrest at a Tokyo airport.

AFP

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