Carlos Ghosn Declares His Innocence In First Public Appearance Since November

Japan court rejects Ghosn release bid

Former Nissan CEO will likely remain in jail for six months or more, according to new reports.

In his first public appearance since his arrest last November, Ghosn appeared in court looking noticeably thinner and with graying hair.

Mr Ghosn, 64, read a prepared statement in a steady voice after being released from handcuffs by the two guards who had led him into court by a rope tied around his waist.

Ghosn has been formally charged with under-reporting his compensation and also been arrested, but not indicted yet, on allegations of breach of trust in shifting personal losses of around $17 million to Nissan. His lawyer, Motonari Otsuru, indicated Ghosn has been moved to a larger cell with a western-style bed. Visitation rights are limited, and he can be interrogated at length without the presence of his lawyers.

Ghosn has been charged with underreporting his income.

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Japanese prosecutors explained that Ghosn represented a flight risk and were concerned he could tamper with evidence. When Nissan stock price fell from 1500 Yen to 400 Yen during the 2008-09 financial crisis, he was asked to increase the collateral on the contracts. Ghosn had the option to resign and use his retirement allowance to cover the collateral.

At the hearing, Ghosn asserted his innocence and said the carmaker incurred no losses from his private investment contract. Instead, Nissan temporarily took over the collateral as Ghosn didn't want to resign.

The former CEO stated Khaled Juffali was paid for "critical services", including helping the company purchase a significant stake in the Nissan's distributor in Saudi Arabia. He had raised concerns over the currency's volatility compared to the USA dollar as he was a USA dollar-based individual.

The former Nissan chairman has also told prosecutors that he transferred the private investment contract to the company only temporarily to earn the automaker's creditworthiness, but meant to return it to his asset management firm from the beginning, the sources said.

At the time of his arrest he was the chairman of Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors, as well as the CEO of Renault and the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance.

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