Ghosn rearrested for allegedly shifting $17M personal losses to Nissan


Ghosn was initially arrested on November 19, and formally charged on December 10 with under-reporting his income for five years through March 2015.

"It's a very serious charge", said Colin Jones, a professor of law at Doshisha University in Kyoto.

Ghosn and Kelly were indicted in Japan last week on allegations the auto titan under-reported his income at Nissan over a number of years.

The arrest has heightened tensions between Nissan and Renault, casting doubt over the viability of their alliance and highlighting the rift between the French and Japanese manufacturers over their respective powers within each others' boardrooms. Prosecutors have been criticised for separating the same allegation into two charges as a tactic to detain Ghosn and Kelly longer.

Greg Kelly, a former Nissan director accused of helping Ghosn under-report his income, was also indicted last week.

The Tokyo prosecutor said the fresh allegations were based on suspicions that around October 2008, Ghosn shifted personal trades to the automaker so that he could avoid paying for 1.85bn yen ($16.6m) in losses. Renault's most powerful shareholder, the French state, has stressed Ghosn should be considered innocent until proven guilty and demanded that Nissan share all evidence it has gathered.

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Ghosn has been indicted for allegedly understating his income over a five-year period from 2010. He was later re-arrested for a similar alleged crime covering the past three years. Ghosn also profited by having the company transfer a total of $14.7 million to another company to benefit himself and that company's owner, who helped in the contract manipulation, prosecutors said. Mitsubishi was brought into the alliance in 2016 when Nissan purchased a 34-percent stake in its domestic rival following an emissions scandal in Japan.

But Renault has held off, choosing instead to appoint a temporary deputy chief executive to take over the running of the firm.

The case has gripped the Asian nation as Ghosn had acquired quasi-cult status for rescuing the country's flagship vehicle manufacturers with his life turned into a manga comic book and bento boxes named after him in some restaurants. So far, the new allegation only applies to Ghosn. A spokesman for Renault said that Kelly consulted Renault and Nissan executives on the legality of paying Ghosn through Renault-Nissan BV and that Renault told Kelly any remuneration from the company would have to be made public in France.

Nissan has also accused its former boss of other financial impropriety, including using Nissan funds to purchase luxury homes around the world. Kelly's detention extension was rejected along with Ghosn's.

The arrests were the result of a coup by executives including Saikawa, Kelly's wife, Dee Kelly, said in a video released Wednesday. He replied: "That is not my understanding".

But on Friday, prosecutors said they had rearrested Ghosn over additional allegations of breach of trust, which means they can hold him for at least another two days. "I think this case has a big impact and effect on the Japanese justice practice, and such a move is favorable for the defense side".