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Carlos Ghosn re-arrested in Japan [update]

by Ronan Glon

Ghosn wants to "restore his honor in court."

Japanese authorities have re-arrested former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn on charges of aggravated breach of trust. The fresh allegations come shortly after a Japanese court refused the prosecution's request to extend his detention, but his lawyer claims they're not punishable by law.

On December 21, Japanese media outlet NHK reported that prosecutors accused Ghosn of shifting a private investment loss amounting to over $16 million to Nissan after the 2008 financial crisis. The publication added the transaction was called into question by Japanese authorities in 2008, but they chose not to investigate or charge Ghosn at the time for reasons that remain unclear.

Motonari Otsuru, Ghosn's lawyer, firmly challenged the allegations, according to industry trade journal Automotive News. He didn't confirm the allegations, but he said he didn't think they would lead to criminal charges in 2018 if Ghosn wasn't charged in 2008.

The prosecution also claimed Ghosn asked an unnamed Nissan subsidiary to transfer about $15 million to a person who helped him shift his loss. Otsuru noted the sum was paid in several installments between 2009 and 2012 to an unidentified person who legitimately worked for Nissan.

The 64-year old executive vehemently denied the allegations and asked for the opportunity to clear his name.

"Things as they stand are absolutely unacceptable. I want to have my position heard and restore my honor in court," Ghosn wrote in a statement released by his lawyer, according to Autocar. There's no word on when he will get the opportunity to speak.

Ghosn's lawyers were preparing to file a bail request before the new allegations were made. He was expected to walk out of the Tokyo detention center he has spent nearly a month in, but the new charges make him ineligible for bail. NHK added his detention will likely be extended for an undetermined period of time.

Prosecutors indicted Ghosn and Greg Kelly, a top Nissan executive, in December 2018. They accuse him of financial wrong-doing, including under-reporting his income to the Japanese authorities for several years. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a significant fine.

Updated 12-23-2018: Added comments from Ghosn's lawyer.