In an extraordinary move, Tokyo prosecutors on Monday rearrested former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn, who had been released on bail, on suspicion of misappropriating the company’s money.
His fourth arrest came less than 24 hours after he announced from a newly launched Twitter account that he was “getting ready, to tell the truth about what’s happening”, and would hold a news conference in Tokyo on April 11, reports The Japan Times.
“My arrest this morning is outrageous and arbitrary,” Ghosn said in a statement released to media outlets shortly after his rearrest was reported.
“It is part of another attempt by some individuals at Nissan to silence me by misleading the prosecutors… I will not be broken. I am innocent of the groundless charges and accusations against me.”
Ghosn was released on bail from the Tokyo Detention House on March 6 after having spent 108 days in confinement, as the long detention drew criticism from many legal experts in other countries.
Thursday’s rearrest could reignite international criticism of Japan’s law enforcement system.
The prosecutors have recently been investigating Nissan’s alleged payments to a distributor in Oman.
They have alleged that some of the money, which came from a budget controlled by Ghosn, was channelled for his own personal use.
Ghosn was initially arrested last November and accused of deliberately underreporting his remuneration for years. He was subsequently slapped with additional charges, including aggravated breach of trust, for the alleged transfer of private investment losses to Nissan in 2008.
Earlier this week, one of Ghosn’s defence attorneys, Junichiro Hironaka, said he “cannot rule out the possibility that the prosecutors may add additional charges from now.” He added that if this were to happen, it could delay the beginning of the trial, reports The Japan Times.
The rearrest is a significant setback for Ghosn’s legal team, which secured his conditional release, as well as for Ghosn himself, as he had been seeking to “tell the truth” in public.
Nissan is scheduled to hold an extraordinary shareholder meeting On April 8 to oust Ghosn and Greg Kelly, his close associated who was also arrested, from the automaker’s board.