After having been released on bail last month, following a detention period of more than 100 days and 3 individual arrests, Ghosn is going back to his cell.
Prosecutors entered Ghosn’s home on Thursday morning, bringing forward new allegations against him. He was swiftly put back in custody.
“Tokyo prosecutors said Ghosn had caused Nissan Motor Co $5 million in losses over a 2-1/2-year period to July 2018, in breach of his legal duties to the company and with the goal of personal gain,” Reuters reported.
“Last week, a special panel appointed by Nissan to suggest improvements for governance at the company said it had found evidence suggesting that Mr. Ghosn had broken the law,” The New York Times (NYT) reported.
“Nissan’s internal investigation found that from 2011 to 2018, Mr. Ghosn authorized over $30 million in discretionary payments to a business partner in Oman, according to a person familiar with the report, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the company has not yet made its full findings public,” NYT continued.
Despite this 4th arrest, Ghosn maintains his innocence, alluding to ulterior motives over at Nissan.
Through his representatives, he shared the following statement: “[This arrest] is part of another attempt by some individuals at Nissan to silence me by misleading the prosecutors. Why arrest me except to try to break me? I will not be broken.”
Indeed, Reuters has noted that analysts find this 4th arrest “highly unusual,” especially that Ghosn had already been released on bail in March, paying $9 million to secure his release.
Furthermore, The Guardian noted that “Ghosn’s re-arrest comes a day after he used Twitter to announce he was “getting ready to tell the truth” at a press conference next week, in what would be his first media appearance since he was released on bail in early March.”
In the tweet, he said: “I’m getting ready to tell the truth about what’s happening. Press conference on Thursday, April 11.”
Ghosn’s claim that Nissan is trying to silence him, coupled with the timing of his Tweet, does raise a few eyebrows.
This week, AMEinfo discussed a report by the Wall Street Journal that claims that Hiroto Saikawa, newly instated President and CEO of Nissan, believed that “some of his executives had gathered evidence against Mr. Ghosn and given it to Japanese authorities with one goal in mind… They wanted to derail any possibility of a full combination of Nissan and Renault, which they feared Mr. Ghosn was pushing.”
This relates to Ghosn’s original arrest in November 2018 on accusations of financial misconduct, when this whole saga started. It came at a period when Ghosn was in advanced talks to bring the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi merger closer to reality. This would have put Nissan at a disadvantageous position, as Renault retains the much larger stake.