Carlos Ghosn indicted on misappropriation charge in ‘most serious allegation’ yet

Carlos Ghosn Renault-Nissan

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office on Monday indicted former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn for a fourth time, this time he is charged for alleged misappropriation of the company’s money for personal use — an accusation referred by legal experts as the most serious brought against him so far.

With the latest charge, Ghosn is alleged of expropriating a Nissan subsidiary’s payments to Suhail Bahwan Automobiles, a Nissan distributor established in Oman.

Prosecutors accuse that some of the money, about ¥560 million, had been siphoned off by Ghosn and made to Good Faith Investments (GFI), a Lebanese investment company he effectively controlled, for his own personal use, such as for buying a luxury yacht.

Ghosn’s defense team filed a request for bail later in the day.

He had already been arrested and indicted on charges related to underreporting his remuneration for years and making the automaker cover some of his personal investment losses in 2008.

Ghosn denies any wrongdoing.

“Carlos Ghosn is innocent of the recent charges brought against him by the Tokyo prosecutors, aided and abetted by certain Nissan conspirators,” a spokesperson for Ghosn stated on Monday. “Mr. Ghosn will continue to vigorously defend himself against these baseless allegations and fully expects to be vindicated.”

In a related development Monday, Nissan lodged a criminal complaint against Ghosn over aggravated breach of trust.

The automaker stated it has determined that the payments in question “were in fact directed by Ghosn for his personal enrichment and were not required from a business standpoint.”

“Such misconduct is entirely unacceptable, and Nissan is requesting appropriately strict penalties,” the statement said.

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