Former Nissan chief Ghosn granted $4.5 million bail, prosecutors appeal decision

Reporters stake out Tokyo Detention Center where former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn is detained on Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP)
Updated 25 April 2019

Former Nissan chief Ghosn granted $4.5 million bail, prosecutors appeal decision

  • Japanese court temporarily suspends the bail process as it considered the appeal
  • Carlos Ghosn cannot leave Japan and is subject to other restrictions

TOKYO: A Japanese court granted Carlos Ghosn bail Thursday, meaning the former Nissan boss could soon walk out of his Tokyo detention center to prepare his defense against multiple charges of financial misconduct.
The Tokyo District Court set bail at $4.5 million (¥500 million) as the 65-year-old auto sector titan faces four charges ranging from concealing part of his salary from shareholders to syphoning off Nissan funds for his personal use.
Prosecutors quickly appealed the court’s decision, delaying his immediate release but public broadcaster NHK said he could walk out of his detention center “as early as Thursday.”
The court temporarily suspended the bail process as it considered the appeal.
According to conditions set by the court, Ghosn cannot leave Japan and is subject to other restrictions to prevent him from attempting to flee or destroy evidence relating to the case.
Ghosn denies all the charges, with a spokesperson for the executive saying on Monday he would “vigorously defend himself against these baseless accusations and fully expects to be vindicated.”
The spokesperson said Ghosn was being detained “under cruel and unjust conditions, in violation of his human rights, in an effort by prosecutors to coerce a confession from him.”
On Monday, he was hit with what experts have described as the most serious charges yet as prosecutors accused him of syphoning off $5 million of Nissan cash transferred from the company to a dealership in Oman.
He also faces two charges of deferring some $80 million of his salary and hiding this in official documents to shareholders, and seeking to shift personal investment losses to the firm during the 2008 financial crisis.
A Nissan spokesman said in a statement that the company’s “internal investigation has uncovered substantial evidence of blatantly unethical conduct.”
“Further discoveries related to Ghosn’s misconduct continue to emerge,” he added.
Ghosn has already been granted bail once, posting $9 million and vowing not to leave Japan and to live in a small court-appointed apartment in central Tokyo — a far cry from his former luxury suite.
Last time he left the detention center in northern Tokyo, he was dressed in a cap, face mask and workman’s uniform in an apparent attempt to evade dozens of journalists from around the world hoping to snap a picture of the fallen tycoon.
The bizarre stunt was cooked up by one of his lawyers, Takashi Takano, who later apologized for “tainting” the reputation of his client who usually appears in public in sharp suits.
Ghosn was preparing to hold a much-anticipated news conference to “tell the truth” about his case but he was re-arrested shortly beforehand to face questioning about the alleged $5 million embezzlement.
Clearly aware he was about to return to custody, Ghosn pre-recorded a video in which he attacked “backstabbing” Nissan executives of a “plot” against him, as they feared closer ties with French partner Renault.
Japanese media reported on Tuesday that the French firm had offered a “management integration proposal” to Nissan, which was poised to reject it as they believe it does not provide equality to the Japanese company.
Unless re-arrested over further allegations, Ghosn will be free to organize his defense ahead of a possible trial that is likely to take months to prepare.
Ghosn’s lead lawyer Junichiro Hironaka has told reporters that a trial as early as the autumn was “not possible for various reasons.”
His lawyers have demanded he be tried separately from Nissan, which also faces charges for submitting the suspect financial documents, and have voiced fears he will not receive a fair trial.
The dramatic case has thrown the international spotlight on the Japanese justice system, derided by critics as “hostage justice” as it allows prolonged detention and relies heavily on suspects’ confessions.


BT warns UK that banning Huawei too fast could cause outages

Updated 13 July 2020

BT warns UK that banning Huawei too fast could cause outages

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to decide this week whether to impose tougher restrictions on Huawei
  • British PM in January granted Huawei a limited role in the 5G network

LONDON: BT CEO Philip Jansen urged the British government on Monday not to move too fast to ban China’s Huawei from the 5G network, cautioning that there could be outages and even security issues if it did.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to decide this week whether to impose tougher restrictions on Huawei, after intense pressure from the United States to ban the Chinese telecoms behemoth from Western 5G networks.
Johnson in January defied President Donald Trump and granted Huawei a limited role in the 5G network, but the perception that China did not tell the whole truth over the coronavirus crisis and a row over Hong Kong has changed the mood in London.
“If you are to try not to have Huawei at all, ideally we would want seven years and we could probably do it in five,” Jansen told BBC radio.
Asked what the risks would be if telecoms operators were told to do it in less than five years, Jansen said: “We need to make sure that any change of direction does not lead to more risk in the short term.”
“If we get to a situation where things need to go very, very fast, then you are into a situation where potentially service for 24 million BT Group mobile customers is put into question — outages,” he said.
In what some have compared to the Cold War antagonism with the Soviet Union, the United States is worried that 5G dominance is a milestone toward Chinese technological supremacy that could define the geopolitics of the 21st century.
The United States says Huawei is an agent of the Chinese Communist State and cannot be trusted.
Huawei, the world’s biggest producer of telecoms equipment, has said the United States wants to frustrate its growth because no US company could offer the same range of technology at a competitive price.