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March 6, 2019

Ghosn released from Japanese jail

Ousted Nissan Motor chairman Carlos Ghosn was finally released from a Japanese jail on Wednesday (6 March) after posting US$9m in bail granted earlier by the Tokyo District Court. His defence lawyers had assured the court Ghosn would submit to extensive surveillance as well as posting a JPY1bn surety.

By Olly Wehring

Ousted Nissan Motor chairman Carlos Ghosn was finally released from a Japanese jail on Wednesday (6 March) after posting US$9m in bail granted earlier by the Tokyo District Court. His defence lawyers had assured the court Ghosn would submit to extensive surveillance as well as posting a JPY1bn surety.

Reuters said television footage showed Ghosn was wearing a workman’s uniform, face mask, blue cap and glasses when he slipped out of the Tokyo Detention House and got into a minicar unrecognised by many of the journalists and TV crews camped outside the facility.

He had been confined to a small, unheated room in the detention centre for over 100 days since he was arrested on 19 November on charges Ghosn has described as “meritless”.

The Tokyo District Court told the news agency Ghosn had paid the JPY1bn/$9m bail, among the highest ever in Japan, after it rejected a last-minute appeal by prosecutors to keep him in jail.

Ghosn gave assurances he would remain in Tokyo, surrender his passport to his lawyer and submit to extensive surveillance.

He agreed to set up cameras at the entrances and exits to his residence and is prohibited from using the internet or sending and receiving text messages. He also is banned from communicating with parties involved in his case, and permitted computer access only at his lawyer’s office, Reuters said.

He faces charges of aggravated breach of trust and under-reporting his compensation by about $82m at Nissan for nearly a decade. If convicted on all charges, he faces a maximum sentence of up to 15 years in jail.

“I am innocent and totally committed to vigorously defending myself in a fair trial against these meritless and unsubstantiated accusations,” Ghosn said earlier in a statement cited by Reuters.

Reuters said the release would allow Ghosn to meet his new legal team frequently and build a defence ahead of trial.

Newly appointing lawyer Junichiro Hironaka suggested a shift to a more aggressive defence strategy, the report said. Hironaka has already said the charges against Ghosn should have been dealt as an internal company matter and Japan was out of step with international norms by keeping his client in jail.

While the bail is a significant step, Ghosn still faces a criminal justice system with a conviction rate of 99.9%, Reuters noted.

Japanese court grants Ghosn bail

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