Ghosn incurs 15 years in prison, Tokyo prosecution says, after two new indictments

The builder of the Renault-Nissan alliance, stripped of his Nissan and Mitsubishi president titles but still Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn, detained since November 19 in Japan for alleged financial malfeasance at the head of Nissan, has was charged with two additional charges on Friday, the Tokyo Prosecutor's Office announced on Friday. Which court also said that Carlos Ghosn incurs a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. But the bad news continues to accumulate: we learned this morning also that Nissan had filed a criminal complaint with the court of Tokyo against his ex-CEO.

Regarding the two new charges this morning, the former CEO of Nissan has been charged withaggravated breach of trust, for having provisionally increased in 2008 in the accounts of the Japanese manufacturer losses on personal investments, and income reduction over the period 2015-2018.

1) The aggravated breach of trust

According to the prosecution, the breach of trust is characterized by its attempt to have Nissan cover "losses on personal investments" at the time of the financial crisis of October 2008. The amount incriminated amounts to 1.85 billion euros. yen (15 million euros). To solve this financial problem, he would have obtained a Saudi billionaire, Khaled Juffali, vouched and subsequently paid him money from the "reserve of the CEO". It was for services really rendered to Nissan, argues Mr. Ghosn.

2) The income reduction

The prosecution has decided to sue the former CEO of Nissan for breach of trust and for having reduced his income in Nissan stock market reports between 2015 and 2018, announced the Tokyo court. His right hand man, Greg Kelly, released on bail on December 25, was also charged for the second reason, as was the Japanese automaker, as a legal entity that handed over the offending material.

For the record, on December 10, the prosecutor's office had indicted him, accusing him of having communicated to the stock market authorities a report reducing the totality of his income in Japan over the years from 2010 to 2015. The other two protagonists had also been indicted for reporting diminished remuneration over the previous five years.

Carlos Ghosn made his first appearance in court on Tuesday: emaciated and handcuffed, he said he was "falsely accused" and denied the allegations.

3) According to the Renault survey, no fraud in 2017-2018

But in France, last night (Thursday, January 10), the headquarters of the diamond brand met to review the internal audit launched in late November by the company. No fraud has been reported on top executive compensation in 2017-18, according to the company.

Read also: This Thursday evening, Renault meets its board of directors but the future of Ghosn will not be decided

The internal investigation of Renault on the remuneration of the members of the executive committee did not discover fraud over the past two years and the work will continue over previous years, said Thursday evening the automaker at the end a meeting of its directors.

"The mission examined the compensation components of the current members of the Renault Group Executive Committee for the fiscal years 2017 and 2018 and concluded that they are compliant and that there is no fraud," said the French manufacturer.

The mission will continue over the previous years, with a report scheduled for the next board of directors, the group added in its statement.

Ghosn could stay in prison for another six months (until his trial)

His lawyer Motonari Otsuru announced that he had filed a bail application for his client.

Arrested on 19 November in Japan, Carlos Ghosn, who is still CEO of Renault and the Renault-Nissan Alliance, has already been charged for the first time, on 10 December, for having declared only half of his remuneration for 2010 to 2015.

Carlos Ghosn rejects these accusations. He claimed his innocence and said he was unjustly detained at a hearing Tuesday in the Tokyo District Court, his first public appearance since his arrest.

It is rare in Japan to be released on bail before trial, especially when the accused rejects the charges against him. Motonari Otsuru deemed it likely on Tuesday that his client would be kept in detention until the start of his eventual trial, which could be held in about six months.

However, if the request of the lawyers of Carlos Ghosn was accepted, it would probably not released before Tuesday, Monday being a holiday in Japan.

(With Reuters and AFP)