Wife says ex-Nissan boss Ghosn suffers ‘harsh’ treatment in jail

Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, was charged by the Japanese authorities with under-reporting income and aggravated breach of trust. (AFP)
Updated 14 January 2019
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Wife says ex-Nissan boss Ghosn suffers ‘harsh’ treatment in jail

  • Carlos Ghosn was detained by the Japenese government on Nov. 19
  • Carole Ghosn said her husband lost 7kg since being detained and eats only rice and barley

The wife of ousted Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. chairman Carlos Ghosn has urged New York-based Human Rights Watch to draw attention to his “harsh treatment” during detention in a Japanese jail, a letter seen by Reuters showed on Sunday.
Japanese authorities have charged Ghosn with under-reporting income and aggravated breach of trust for temporarily transferring personal investment losses to Nissan in 2008.
In a nine-page letter to Kanae Doi, the rights group’s Japan director, Carole Ghosn asked it to “shine a light on the harsh treatment of my husband and the human rights-related inequities inflicted upon him by the Japanese justice system.”
Ghosn was in charge of an alliance that included Nissan Motor, Mitsubishi Motors and France’s Renault, until his November arrest and removal as chairman of the automakers sent shockwaves through the industry.
The government has denied requests to end his detention, which has run since Nov. 19. Ghosn’s lawyers have said it would probably take more than six months for his case to come to trial.
Phones went unanswered at Japan’s Foreign Ministry and the prime minister’s office as Monday is a public holiday, but Nissan said it was not in a position to comment on the workings of the judicial system, or any decision by the Tokyo prosecutors’ office.
Officials of Human Rights Watch could not be reached for comment on the letter, but its Asia director, Brad Adams, said in an editorial on Thursday that Ghosn’s case “has shone a light” on Japan’s long-overlooked “hostage” justice system.
“Ghosn has not, and should not, receive preferential treatment,” Adams wrote in the editorial, which appeared in the online edition of “The Diplomat.”
“But if Japan wants to live up to its reputation as one of the world’s most advanced democracies, it needs to modernize its criminal justice system,” he added.
“Regardless of the serious allegations against him, or the controversies surrounding his tenure at Nissan, no one should have their rights violated in this way while facing criminal charges.”
Nissan said last Friday it had filed a criminal complaint against Ghosn with Tokyo prosecutors related to the misuse of a “significant amount of the company’s funds.”
The former Nissan executive is being held in a 6.97-sq-m unheated cell and being denied daily medication, his wife said in her letter. He has lost 7kg since being detained and eats only rice and barley, she added.
Prosecutors in Japan often try to extract confessions from prisoners in detainment that could last months, Carole Ghosn said in the letter.
“For hours each day, the prosecutors interrogate him, browbeat him, lecture him and berate him, outside the presence of his attorneys, in an effort to extract a confession,” she said.
“No one should be forced to endure what my husband faces every day, particularly in a developed nation like Japan, the third largest economy in the world.”
Ghosn said he was “wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated accusations” during a Tokyo court proceeding last week, his first public appearance since his November arrest, at which he seemed noticeably thinner.


Brent eases from 2019 highs as markets await US-China trade talks outcome

Updated 19 February 2019
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Brent eases from 2019 highs as markets await US-China trade talks outcome

  • The slight downward correction was driven by concerns about the health of the global economy this year
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch expects Brent prices to average between $50 and $70 per barrel

SINGAPORE: Brent crude oil prices eased away from 2019 highs on Tuesday on caution that economic growth may dent fuel demand this year, although supply cuts led by OPEC still meant markets were relatively tight.
International Brent crude oil futures were at $66.08 per barrel at 0220 GMT, down 42 cents, or 0.6 percent from their last close, but still not far off the 2019 high of $66.83 a barrel hit in the previous session.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $55.71 per barrel. While that was up 12 cents from their last settlement, it was below the $56.33 2019 high from the previous day.
Traders said the slight downward correction was driven by concerns about the health of the global economy this year.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a note that the Sino-American trade dispute was hurting economic growth globally.
“Addressing global trade tensions is key for improving the economic outlook,” it said in a note.
China’s vice premier and chief trade negotiator, Liu He, and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer lead a round of trade talks this week in Washington.
Considering the economic outlook and supply and demand balances, the bank said it expects Brent prices to average between $50 and $70 per barrel, “anchored around $60.”
Despite some caution around trade, global oil markets remain relatively tight because of supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), with top crude exporter Saudi Arabia cutting the most.
Saudi seaborne crude exports fell in the first half of February, with departures standing at 6.204 million barrels per day (bpd), a 1.341 million bpd decline on the previous month and 0.91 million bpd decline on the year, data intelligence firm Kpler said.
Further providing oil markets with support are US sanctions against petroleum exporters Iran and Venezuela.
Venezuela is a major crude supplier to US refineries while Iran is a key exporter to major demand centers in Asia, especially China and India.