Ghosn has made his first public appearance in court, where he strongly protested his innocence.
Things aren’t looking good right now for Nissan’s former chairman Carlos Ghosn. Back in November, Ghosn was accused of underreporting his earnings by around $42 million since 2010 and using company money for his own personal gain. It was a spectacular fall from grace, as Ghosn is often credited for saving Nissan in the 2000s when the company was on the brink of bankruptcy.
To date, the former Nissan boss has been rearrested three times and has been held in a cramped prison cell since November 19following his initial arrest in Tokyo. While his current detention period is due to end on January 11, his lawyer believes he could remain behind bars for another six months according to Automotive News.
In his first public appearance since his arrest last November, Ghosn appeared in court looking noticeably thinner and with graying hair. He was led into court in handcuffs with a rope around his waist.
When asked whether his client will be granted bail at the end of his detention period, his lawyer, Motonari Otsuru, said: "In general, in such cases in Japan, it is usually not approved before the first trial takes place," adding that it could take six months before the first trial is held. It may seem extreme, but Japanese law allows him to be detained for the months leading to the trial to prevent him from fleeing or tampering with evidence.
Unsurprisingly, Ghosn strongly denies any wrongdoing and protested his innocence in court. "I have always acted with integrity and have never been accused of any wrongdoing in my several-decade professional career,” he told the court. "I have been wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated accusations.” He also expressed his "love and appreciation for Nissan," and told the court how he dedicated two decades of his life reviving Nissan. "I worked on these goals day and night," he said.
This follows claims from his family that Ghosn was framed by Nissan because the company feared he had too much power. The fact remains that the accusations have yet to be proven, but it’s clearly going to be a very long time before the truth is uncovered. If found guilty, Ghosn could be jailed for up to ten years and/or face an $89,000 fine.