Plea to extend the period of detention of the former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn and Representative Director Greg Kelly by Japanese prosecutors was rejected by Tokyo District Court on Thursday.
It is likely that a bail plea would be filed by the lawyers for the two men. Ghosn would be released on bail, if approved, after about a month of his arrest on November 19 over allegations of financial misconduct under Japanese law on case filed against him by Nissan.
Ghosn and Kelly were indicted on December 10 with underreporting their annual income from Nissan in the annual reports of the company filed with the Tokyo Stock Exchange for 5 consecutive years till March 2015 and the amount of income underreported was to the tune of 4.8 billion yen ($43 million). Both the men were rearrested on another charge on the very same day and the courts then extended their detention by 10 days. The charge for the second arrest was based on suspicion of the duo not reporting another 4.2 billion yen for the fiscal years till March 2018.
The period for the latest detention expired on Thursday. The prosecutors had sought detention extension for 10 more days which was rejected by the court.
According to data from the Japanese Ministry of Justice, a miniscule (0.21 per cent) of requests for extended detention were not upheld by courts in the entire of 2017. This means that prosecutors could expect to get a request for extension of detention approved for most cases. However, courts would need to find “compelling reason” for extension of detention.
This means that in the case of Ghosn and Kelly, no compelling reason for extension of detention was probably found by the Tokyo District Court to keep the two men in detention any further. Additionally, some observers said that the increasing criticism of the tendency in Japan of awarding long detention periods by foreign parties also influenced the court’s decision.
A quasi-appeal was being prepared by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office following the court’s decision. The prosecutors claimed that there are still possibilities of some evidence not having been discovered.
It is likely that there would be bail hearings for the two men. The severity of the allegation and the ability pay of the person to pay decide bail amounts. Typically at the end of a trial, the bail money is returned, but is forfeited if the person does not appear for trial or flees.
While on bail, indicted individuals are not allowed to get in touch with accomplices or witnesses. Therefore, it is most likely that there would be minimal contact, at best, between Ghosn and Nissan executives, including CEO Hiroto Saikawa. Even after being removed as the chairman of Nissan, Ghosn is still a board member of the Japanese auto company but may not be allowed to participate in any board meetings or even in the annual general meeting of the company’s shareholders.
“We will withhold commenting on the judiciary jugment,” Nissan said in a statement after the judge’s decision.
(Adapted from AsiaNikkei.com)