Japanese prosecution wants wife of ex-Nissan chief to be questioned

Carlos Ghosn (C), former Nissan and Renault chairman, leaves his lawyer's office in Tokyo, Japan, Apr 3, 2019 (issued Apr 4, 2019). EPA-EFE

TOKYO.- Japanese prosecutors want judges to question the wife of Carlos Ghosn on suspicion that part of the payments of Nissan Motor to a company in Oman were diverted to the accounts of a company of which his wife is an executive, public broadcaster NHK reported on Sunday.

The prosecution suspects that the company, in the name of Carole Ghosn, siphoned part of these funds to purchase a yacht for family use.

The prosecutor’s office, on Thursday – the same day that Carlos Ghosn was arrested again on charges of a fourth crime – seized the passport and mobile phone of Carole Ghosn.

The new proceedings that led to Ghosn’s return to prison are related to a series of alleged transfers made in 2015 and 2018 to a distributor in Oman and, according to the prosecution, part of the money ended up in the bank accounts controlled by Ghosn and his family including the accounts of a company represented by his wife.

The Tokyo Court hearing the case on Friday, approved the request to detain Ghosn until Apr. 14.

There is a possibility that the prosecutors may request an additional 10-day extension before announcing the formal indictment or deciding to release him.

Ghosn, 65, was arrested for the first time on Nov. 19 in Tokyo, accused of under-reporting his income running into the millions to the Japanese financial authorities.

He faces three formal accusations, two related to concealment of salary and a third regarding breach of trust as head of Nissan Motor for allegedly using company funds to cover personal financial losses and make payments to a Saudi businessman.

The lawyers representing Ghosn, who has denied all the charges, have said that they will release a video message from Ghosn on Apr. 11, the day on which he was initially planning to hold a press conference, something that will be impossible after his new arrest.

According to NHK, it is very rare in Japan for a person to be arrested again after being released on bail.
Junichiro Hironaka, the lawyer defending Ghosn, criticized the arrest and said it is part of the hostage justice system that he believes prevails in Japan.

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