Does the punishment fit the alleged crime?
Carlos Ghosn, the recently ousted Renault-Nissan chairman and Mitsubishi CEO, is used to living the most luxurious life you can imagine. But since his arrest on November 19 in Tokyo, Japan, Ghosn has been sitting in a jail cell measuring only 52 square feet. According to Reuters and Bloomberg, he’ll be there for at least another 10 days as Japanese authorities have extended his detention pending formal charges.
Ghosn has been accused of financial crimes, specifically underreporting his income by around $42 million since 2010 and misuse of company money for personal use. Examples include buying and renovating homes in Brazil and Lebanon worth around $18 million and private family vacation.
Not surprisingly, Ghosn denies any wrongdoing, but the damage to his reputation, not to mention his career, is done. But what’s unusual about his current situation is that Japanese prosecutors have yet to file any official charges against him. The guy has been sitting in jail, his career in shambles, without having even been charged with anything. This is not to say he’s guilty or not guilty, but why is it taking this long for Japanese authorities to make the next move after such a high-profile arrest?
Because Japan’s criminal justice system does not have many of the same protections defendants have in the US or Europe. But if convicted of the accusations, Ghosn could face up to 10 years in prison.
Meanwhile, Ghosn’s daily routine is as follows: eight hours of sleep, three meals a day, and 30 minutes of exercise. His prison cell is apparently quite cold at night and he asked his lawyers to bring him a sweater. That will be his routine until at least December 10, the deadline prosecutors now have to file formal charges against him. If they don’t, Ghosn will be a free man.
Meanwhile, Ghosn, the man who signed off on the likes of the Nissan GT-R and the automaker’s entire electric vehicle program, which currently includes only the Leaf, has hired a top Japanese lawyer who, ironically enough, is the former director of the same prosecutor’s office now investigating him.