Japan court rejects ex-Nissan chief’s bail appeal

Motonari Otsuru, chief lawyer of former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn appealed the decision of the Japanese court against bail. (File/AFP)
Updated 17 January 2019
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Japan court rejects ex-Nissan chief’s bail appeal

  • With the latest rejection he faces at least a two-month period in pre-trial detention, which can be extended almost automatically by one month at a time
  • Since his stunning arrest on Nov. 19 the auto tycoon has languished in a Tokyo detention center

TOKYO: Former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn will stay behind bars in Japan for the foreseeable future after a Tokyo court quashed his appeal for bail as he faces charges on three counts of financial misconduct.
Since his stunning arrest on November 19 the auto tycoon has languished in a Tokyo detention center, facing questioning over allegations he under-reported his salary and tried to shift personal losses on to the company.
The court had previously refused to release the 64-year-old Franco-Lebanese-Brazilian businessman on the grounds that he could present a flight risk and destroy evidence.
Last week he was formally charged on two of the counts and his request for bail was denied. Even his own lawyer has admitted he is likely to be kept behind bars until a trial — which could take six months.
His legal team said they would now appeal to the Supreme Court.
The appeal — and its rejection — came as the French government called for him to be replaced at the head of Renault, the only one of the three companies he used to head that has retained him.
Japanese firms Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors jettisoned him as boss almost immediately after his arrest, but Renault was more cautious and appointed an interim leader while Ghosn fought the charges.
With the latest rejection he faces at least a two-month period in pre-trial detention. This can be extended almost automatically by one month at a time.
His wife Carole has appealed to rights group Human Rights Watch over his detention, saying he was being held in “harsh” conditions and subjected to round-the-clock interrogations in an attempt to extract a confession.
Ghosn has been seen only once in public since his detention, in a dramatic court appearance.
He had clearly lost a lot of weight but seemed otherwise in good health. He passionately proclaimed his innocence and his love for Nissan, a company he is widely credited with saving from the brink of bankruptcy.
“I have been wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated accusations,” Ghosn told a packed courtroom.


New Zealand to conduct own assessment of Huawei equipment risk

Updated 41 min 39 sec ago
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New Zealand to conduct own assessment of Huawei equipment risk

  • Huawei faces intense scrutiny in the West over its relationship with the Chinese government
  • Several Western countries had restricted Huawei’s access to their markets

WELLINGTON: New Zealand will independently assess the risk of using China’s Huawei Technologies in 5G networks, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday after a report suggested that British precautions could be used by other nations.
Huawei, the world’s biggest producer of telecoms equipment, faces intense scrutiny in the West over its relationship with the Chinese government and US-led allegations that its equipment could be used by Beijing for spying.
No evidence has been produced publicly and the firm has repeatedly denied the allegations, which have led several Western countries to restrict Huawei’s access to their markets.
The Financial Times reported on Sunday that the British government had decided it can mitigate the risks arising from the use of Huawei equipment in 5G networks. It said Britain’s conclusion would “carry great weight” with European leaders and other nations could use similar precautions.
New Zealand’s intelligence agency in November rejected an initial request from telecommunications services provider Spark to use 5G equipment provided by Huawei.
At the time, the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) gave Spark options to mitigate national security concerns over the use of Huawei equipment, Ardern said on Monday.
“The ball is now in their court,” she told a weekly news conference.
Ardern said New Zealand, which is a member of the Five Eyes intelligence sharing network that includes the United Kingdom and the United States, would conduct its own assessment.
“I would expect the GCSB to apply with our legislation and our own security assessments. It is fair to say Five Eyes, of course, share information but we make our own independent decisions,” she said.
Huawei New Zealand did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Spark said it was in discussions with GCSB officials.
“We are working through what possible mitigations we might be able to provide to address the concerns raised by the GCSB and have not yet made any decision on whether or when we should submit a revised proposal to GCSB,” Spark spokesman Andrew Pirie said in an emailed statement.
The Huawei decision, along with the government’s tougher stance on China’s growing influence in the Pacific, has some politicians and foreign policy analysts worried about potential strained ties with a key trading partner.
Ardern’s planned first visit to Beijing has faced scheduling issues, and China last week postponed a major tourism campaign in New Zealand days before its launch.
Ardern said her government’s relationship with China was strong despite some complex issues.
“Visits are not a measure of the health of a relationship they are only one small part of it,” she said, adding that trade and tourism ties remained strong.