Carlos Ghosn comes down with fever in jail, halting interrogation

Darnell Taylor
January 13, 2019

His lawyers said Tuesday that he's been granted a bigger room and what they called western-style bed.

Ghosn, who holds Brazilian, French and Lebanese citizenship, has been kept at the Tokyo Detention House facility since his arrest on November 19.

Ghosn's aide Greg Kelly, who was arrested at the same time over his alleged role in helping the executive understate his pay, was released on a bail at $635 000 (over R8m) on December 25.

Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, Motonari Otsuru, who leads Ghosn's legal team, said he expected prosecutors to take at least six months to prepare for trial.

A request filed the same day by his lawyers to end his detention was rejected.

His lawyer said on Friday that he would make another request for bail.

Sources close to the matter said Friday, however, that his legal team would likely seek bail for their client, despite a Tokyo judge believing Ghosn may destroy evidence and flee the country, if bail is granted.

However, in one piece of rare positive news for the once-revered tycoon, the Tokyo District Court turned down a prosecutors' bid to prevent family visits, meaning he should be allowed contact with his loved ones.

On Tuesday, Ghosn, a Brazilian-born Frenchman of Lebanese ancestry, told a Tokyo court he was innocent, in his first public appearance since his November 19 arrest.

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If proven, each of Ghosn's alleged offense may carry a sentence of as much as 10 years, prosecutors have said. "In all of my efforts on behalf of the company, I have acted honorably, legally and with the knowledge and approval of the appropriate executives inside the company".

The Renault board of directors held a special meeting Thursday night to discuss internal reviews of executive pay prompted by Ghosn's arrest. "We are fearful and very anxious his recovery will be complicated while he continues to endure such harsh conditions and unfair treatment".

He was also indicted on a new, more serious charge of breach of trust.

Nissan said Friday it has filed its own criminal complaint against its former chief "on the basis of Ghosn's misuse of a significant amount of the company's funds".

That lack of transparency and concern that Nissan will use Ghosn's absence to push for more power within the alliance has heightened tensions between the two automakers.

Renault, which is the biggest shareholder in Nissan, has refrained from removing Ghosn, instead appointing interim replacements.

Ghosn is also accused of under-reporting his income by tens of millions of dollars in documents to investors based on an understanding that he would receive them as post-retirement compensation.

Directors gave no hint in their statement of any deliberations into Ghosn's future at Renault.

However, according to local media, he was struck down by a high fever late Wednesday, with the prison doctor saying he was too unwell to be questioned or receive visits from his lawyer or embassy officials.

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