Ghosn Lawyer Challenges Latest Financial Misconduct Allegations

December 23, 2018 Updated: December 23, 2018

Carlos Ghosn’s lawyer challenged allegations by prosecutors that the former Nissan Motor Co. chairman transferred personal financial losses to the Japanese automaker.

On Dec. 21, while rearresting Ghosn, the prosecutors alleged Ghosn used Nissan’s money to pay a person who helped him meet payments to maintain a personal trading position during the 2008 global financial crisis.

On Dec. 23, Motonari Otsuru, the main lawyer representing Ghosn responded in a written statement saying the actions did not constitute a breach of trust and the payments totaling $14.7 million from 2009 to 2012 were made for work the person did for Nissan. The lawyer didn’t identify the person by name.

The prosecutors statement on Dec. 21 also stated that Ghosn conducted an “aggravated breach of trust” by allegedly transferring obligations on his own personal investment losses worth about 1.85 billion yen ($16.6 million) to Nissan, inflicting financial damage on the automaker.

On this point, Otsuru said that while the act may be seen as a breach of trust it would not be punishable. According to Otsuru, the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission had looked into the matter in 2008 but did not file criminal charges, therefore the lawyer didn’t think the acts would be punishable now.

Nissan declined to comment. A phone call to the Tokyo Prosecutors Office went unanswered on Dec. 23.

Ghosn has been held at Tokyo’s detention house since his Nov. 19 arrest. He was indicted for allegedly understating his salary at Nissan during the five years until March 2015. He has since been re-arrested on more serious allegations for inflicting financial damage on Nissan.

Ghosn will be detained until Jan. 1, the Tokyo District Court said Dec. 23.

By Ma Jie & Kae Inoue

From Bloomberg