Ghosn accused of receiving nearly 9 mln USD illegally from Nissan-Mitsubishi venture

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-18 21:24:04|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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TOKYO, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. have accused ousted Chairman Carlos Ghosn of receiving an illegal payment from an overseas company jointly made by the two automakers.

Netherlands-based-Nissan-Mitsubishi B.V., according to the latest allegations facing the embattled automotive heavyweight, paid Ghosn 7.82 million euros (8.9 million U.S. dollars) "illegally" from a fund established to "facilitate the generation of synergies."

The accusations are based on findings made by the two automakers' own investigation.

According to Mitsubishi Motors, the illicit payment was made without the approval of the board of directors and was made at the instruction of Ghosn to Nissan executives under a shady employment agreement.

The agreement was composed by someone without the requisite authority to do so at the joint venture, said Mitsubishi Motors.

Ghosn may have created the joint venture with the sole purpose of defrauding it for personal gain, said a lawyer from Mitsubishi Motors who is leading the probe. The lawyer intimated that the act could be tantamount to corporate embezzlement.

Ghosn's lawyers, meanwhile, on Friday made a request for a second time to a Tokyo court to grant bail to their client, who has been detained after first bring arrested on Nov. 19.

The auto tycoon was arrested on suspicion he under-reported his remuneration during the five years through March 2015 to regulators, in violation of Japan's Financial Instruments and Exchange Act.

The likelihood is that Ghosn will remain in detention until the investigations are concluded and he is called to court for sentencing -- a process his lawyer has said could be a lengthy one.

Ghosn, widely recognized as the brains and brawn behind Nissan's rapid turnaround since 1999, has rigorously maintained he has in no way violated financial regulatory laws in relation to reporting his earnings, and has maintained that Nissan incurred no losses from his private investment dealings that have led to allegations of breach of trust.

Ghosn, who holds Brazilian, French and Lebanese citizenship, appeared in public at a hearing for the first time on Jan. 8 and was granted permission to voice his opinions in court about the myriad charges facing him.

While Ghosn has maintained that he had "been wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated accusations," the presiding judge at his hearing said that his ongoing detention was due to concerns he might try to destroy key evidence and that he was a flight risk.

Motonari Otsuru, Ghosn's chief lawyer, has said that Ghosn could theoretically be detained for a minimum of another six months, citing the complexities of the case.

Bail is unlikely to be granted as Ghosn has unequivocally denied all allegations against him, Otsuru also said.

The lawyer said his client, who has asked to be allowed to return to France until he is required to appear in a Japanese court, will likely be detained in Japan until the start of his trial.