By on December 21, 2018

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn unveils redesigned Maxima “4 Door Spor - Image: Nissan

Just yesterday, it looked as if Renault CEO and former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn might make it out of jail by the weekend. Japanese prosecutors had another idea, however. The industry titan was re-arrested Friday morning on suspicion of aggravated breach of trust, pushing the possibility of bail and a hotel Christmas further from the realm of possibility.

Detained since his initial Nov. 19 arrest, Ghosn is now accused of covering losses incurred through derivatives trading with Nisan funds. Those losses — totalling $16.6 million — took place in 2008.

In the five weeks since their Tokyo arrests, Ghosn and his right-hand man, Nissan board member Greg Kelly (also ousted from the automaker’s board), were indicted on charges of underreporting income to Japan’s finance ministry from 2010 to 2014, then re-arrested on suspicion of carrying out the same practice from 2015 to 2017. The shortfall in their financial reporting amounts to nearly $80 million. Ghosn was set to walk free on bail by the end of the week after Tokyo prosecutors failed in their attempt to overturn a district court ruling. Now, another period of detention seems unavoidable.

As reported by The Guardian, prosecutors stated, “The accused was responsible for managing Nissan’s overall operations and for dutifully fulfilling his role as chief executive not to cause damage to Nissan and its subsidiaries … but he took action that betrayed his role and caused financial damage to Nissan.”

Much like the others, Ghosn denies these charges. Speaking (through his lawyer) to Japanese broadcaster NHK, the executive said, “Things as they stand are absolutely unacceptable. I want to have my position heard and restore my honour in court.”

It’s believed that harsh (read: standard practice) treatment of Ghosn by Japanese authorities led the court to rule that the 64-year-old exec’s detention should end. Japanese Justice Minister Takashi Yamashita sees it differently, calling the blowback “unwarranted.” Regardless, with this new allegation, Ghosn now faces two days of questioning, and prosecutors will likely apply for a detention of 10 to 20 days.

While Alliance members Nissan and Mitsubishi quickly washed their hands of Ghosn, Renault’s staying put. To date, there’s no report of financial irregularities on the French automaker’s books. Last week, the company’s board voted to keep him on as CEO and chairman, just as Nissan handed over the dossier detailing the results of its own internal investigation.

[Image: Nissan]

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