Carlos Ghosn granted $4.5m bail with rules on seeing wife

Tokyo court grants bail to ex-Nissan chairman, who has said allegations are ‘a conspiracy’

A court in Japan has granted bail to Carlos Ghosn but the former Nissan chairman will not be allowed to meet his wife, Carole, without its permission.

Bail was set at 500m yen ($4.5m), according to the Tokyo district court, which approved Ghosn’s application after he was arrested for a fourth time over allegations that he misused company funds.

If the court rejects a prosecution appeal against bail, Ghosn, who faces separate charges of under-reporting his salary and transferring personal investment losses to Nissan, will leave detention on Thursday to prepare his defence.

Under his latest bail conditions, Ghosn must stay in Japan and is subject to other restrictions to prevent him from attempting to flee or destroy evidence.

His head lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka, said the conditions included restrictions on seeing his wife, whom prosecutors suspect has made contact with people involved in the case.

Hironaka told reporters that Ghosn’s bail conditions included an “approval system” to see Carole. “If the court approves it, she will be able to meet him,” he said.

Ghosn spent 108 days in detention after he was first arrested in November, and was granted bail in early March. His bail came to an abrupt end this month when he was re-arrested over allegations he caused Nissan $5m in losses by channelling cash from a discretionary company fund into a firm run by his wife, which was used to buy a luxury yacht.

He has repeatedly denied all the allegations. On Monday a spokesperson for Ghosn said he would “vigorously defend himself against these baseless accusations and fully expects to be vindicated”.

Days after his latest arrest, his lawyers showed a video message in which he accused Nissan executives of conspiring to have him arrested over unfounded fears about his plans for a closer alliance between the Japanese carmaker and Renault.

The 65-year-old, who has resigned as chairman of Renault and was dismissed from his leadership positions at Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors, said he was innocent of all the charges, describing them as “biased, taken out of context, and twisted to paint a personage of greed and a personage of dictatorship”.

“This is a conspiracy,” he said in the video, which was recorded shortly before he was taken back into detention. “This is not about specific events, or greed or dictatorship. This is about a plot. This is about conspiracy. This is about backstabbing.”

His lawyers have criticised prosecutors’ treatment of their client, describing his latest detention as “inhuman” and “illegal”. His 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.”

The Frenchman, who also has Brazilian and Lebanese nationality, arrived in Japan in the late 1990s and was credited with rescuing Nissan from the brink of bankruptcy, before forging a successful alliance with Renault and Mitsubishi.

In return for his release from detention in March, Ghosn agreed not to leave Japan and to live in a small court-appointed apartment in central Tokyo fitted with a camera to monitor his movements. He was not allowed to access the internet and his offline use of computers was restricted to business hours on weekdays at his lawyer’s office.

No date has been set for Ghosn’s trial. Hironaka said a trial as early as the autumn was “not possible for various reasons”.

Agence France-Presse contributed to this report.


Justin McCurry in Tokyo

The GuardianTramp

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