Former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn will spend Christmas and the beginning of 2019 behind bars, after a Tokyo court extended his detention for another 10 days.
“Today, a decision was made to detain (Ghosn). The full term of the detention will expire on January 1,” the Tokyo District Court said in a statement on Sunday.
The move by the court comes as Tokyo prosecutors continue to grill the car industry tycoon over allegations that he shifted a personal investment loss worth more than $16 million to the Japanese automaker.
The extension means Ghosn will remain in Tokyo’s main detention centre, where he has been confined since his arrest last month on initial allegations of financial misconduct.
The Franco-Brazilian-Lebanese executive earlier had hopes of being freed on bail after the same Tokyo court rejected a bid last week by prosecutors to extend his detention over allegations related to under-reporting his income.
However, on Friday, prosecutors slapped Ghosn with a fresh arrest warrant over the investment loss, gaining a 48-hour period to keep him in custody before the latest extension was granted.
The 64-year-old has reportedly denied the allegations, asserting that transactions were carried out legally.
In addition to charges against Ghosn and his right-hand man Greg Kelly, prosecutors have also indicted Nissan itself, as the company submitted the official documents that under-reported the income for 2011-2015 by about 5bn yen ($44m). Other charges for additional underreporting of Ghosn’s pay by about 4bn yen ($36m) over the past three years are still pending.
The Ghosn case has put Japan‘s criminal justice system under international scrutiny and sparked criticism for some of its practices, including ‘re-arresting’ suspects several times over different allegations, keeping suspects in detention for longer periods and prohibiting defence lawyers from being present during interrogations, which can last for eight hours a day.
His original November 19 arrest for alleged financial misconduct sent shockwaves through the business world.
Nissan said after the arrest that it unearthed multiple instances of possible wrongdoing in an internal investigation triggered by a whistle-blower.
Since then, the once jet-setting executive has languished in a tiny cell in a detention centre in northern Tokyo.
Ghosn has told embassy visitors he is well treated, and sources at French car giant Renault have described his frame of mind as “combative” as he fights the charges against him.
After his arrest, last month, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors promptly sacked Ghosn as chairman, but Renault kept him on and appointed an interim boss as it waited to assess the legal procedures against him. Kelly, however, has been dismissed by Nissan as a representative director since the allegations were made.