A Japanese court has granted Carlos Ghosn bail, temporarily freeing the former boss of Nissan Motors from his Tokyo detention centre, and allowing him to live in a small court-appointed apartment in central Tokyo.
The Tokyo District Court granted the 65-year-old Ghosn bail on a security of 500 million yen ($4.5 million). Ghosn, who is facing multiple charges of financial misconduct, cannot, however, leave Japan.
The former CEO of Nissan faces four charges varying from concealing part of his salary from shareholders to syphoning off Nissan funds for his personal use.
Ghosn denies all the charges and has vowed to “vigorously defend himself against these baseless accusations and fully expects to be vindicated”.
A spokesperson for Ghosn said the former Nissan boss was being detained by prosecutors under cruel and unjust conditions, in violation of all human rights, in an effort to coerce a confession from him.
They say the latest charge of syphoning off $5 million of Nissan cash from the company to a dealership in Oman, with which Gohsn was hit on Monday, is the most serious charges yet that prosecutors have accused him of.
The earlier charges include 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.
Ghosn has earlier been granted bail once on a $9 million security and vow not to leave Japan as well as to live in a small court-appointed apartment in central Tokyo.
But the prosecutors re-arrested Ghosn for further questioning about the alleged $5 million embezzlement while he was preparing to hold a much-anticipated news conference to “tell the truth” about his case.
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 organise his defence ahead of a possible trial that is likely to take months to prepare.
Ghosn’s lead lawyer Junichiro Hironaka told reporters that a trial as early as the autumn was not possible for various reasons.
Meanwhile, Nissan itself is facing charges for submitting suspect financial documents, and Ghosn’s lawyers have voiced fears that he will not receive a fair trial if the trials are clubbed.