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Detention of Nissan’s ex-chair Ghosn extended to April 22

By YURI KAGEYAMAApril 12, 2019
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In this image made from video released by Carlos Ghosn via his lawyer Tuesday, April 9, 2019, former Nissan chairman Ghosn speaks on camera in Tokyo. Ghosn, who was arrested in Japan on financial misconduct charges, gets his say in a video shown by his legal team. (Carlos Ghosn via AP)
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In this image made from video released by Carlos Ghosn via his lawyer Tuesday, April 9, 2019, former Nissan chairman Ghosn speaks on camera in Tokyo. Ghosn, who was arrested in Japan on financial misconduct charges, gets his say in a video shown by his legal team. (Carlos Ghosn via AP)

TOKYO (AP) — The detention of Nissan’s former Chairman Carlos Ghosn was approved through April 22 on Friday, allowing prosecutors to interrogate him daily on fresh allegations of financial misconduct.

In Paris, the new board of Nissan’s alliance with Renault SA of France and smaller Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors Corp. met for the first time to plot out the group’s future without Ghosn.

Ghosn was arrested in November, released on bail last month but rearrested last week. The Tokyo District Court approved prosecutors’ request to continue to hold Ghosn at Tokyo Detention Center. It is unclear when he might be released.

The latest arrest is over breach of trust suspicions that payments by a Nissan subsidiary to an Oman dealership business went to a company effectively run by Ghosn.

The alliance board, which is meant to replace a Ghosn-driven, Netherlands-based leadership structure, is led by Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard. It also includes Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa and Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko. It will oversee shared projects such as developing batteries and more autonomous driving functions in their cars.

Without the hard-driving, attention-getting Ghosn at the helm, some have expressed concern about the viability of the alliance. The scandal also remains a troubling distraction.

On Thursday, Ghosn’s wife Carole, who had left for France after Ghosn’s latest arrest, returned for questioning in a Tokyo court. Details have not been disclosed, but Japanese media reports say some of the Oman money may have gone to a company run by her.

Ghosn has been charged with falsifying financial documents in underreporting his compensation, and with breach of trust in using Nissan Motor Co. money for dubious payments. Formal charges have not been filed in the latest arrest.

Ghosn, who led the Japanese automaker for two decades, says he is innocent. He says the compensation was never decided, investment losses never occurred and the payments were for legitimate services.

Carole Ghosn has said her husband and she are innocent.

Long detention and multiple arrests are routine in Japan, but rearresting a person who cleared bail is unusual. His lawyers, who have protested the detention as unfair, filed a new appeal with the court on the latest detention extension.

Renault owns 43% of Nissan. Nissan shareholders approved Ghosn’s ouster from the board this week, and tapped Senard in his place.

In a video statement released recently by his lawyers, Ghosn said some Nissan executives feared Renault would swallow Nissan and plotted against him.

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Associated Press writer Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report. Follow her on https://twitter.com/acharlton

Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

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