Ghosn released on bail but barred contact with wife

Ex-Nissan chief criticised condition but expressed gratitude for his release from detention centre in Tokyo.

    Ghosn was arrested for the fourth time in early April, a month after his release from the detention centre [Issei Kato/Reuters]
    Ghosn was arrested for the fourth time in early April, a month after his release from the detention centre [Issei Kato/Reuters]

    Former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn has been released from detention in Tokyo, freed on $4.5m bail as he awaits trial on financial misconduct charges.

    A Japanese court upheld a decision to release the 65-year-old Franco-Brazilian businessman on bail and Ghosn, who was wearing a suit and surrounded by security guards, was seen walking out of the glass doors of the Tokyo Detention Centre late on Thursday.

    Ghosn was indicted over a new breach of trust charge on Monday. The court approved his release earlier on Thursday and said he then paid the bail amount. The indictment extended his period of custody at the detention centre and prompted his defence team to request his release on bail.

    The court's decision to release Ghosn on bail was "extremely regrettable" according to Tokyo's deputy chief prosecutor Shin Kukimoto.

    The court set conditions for Ghosn's release, including limitations on where he can live in Japan, a ban on overseas travel and measures to prevent him from fleeing and tampering with evidence. 

    As one of the bail conditions, the court has also banned contact between Ghosn and his wife, Kyodo News agency reported, citing one of his lawyers.

    Following her husband's latest arrest on April 4, she travelled to Paris to appeal to the French government for help in securing Ghosn's freedom while he awaits trial, and was questioned by authorities upon her return to Tokyo.

    Ghosn criticised that condition in a statement released in Paris later on Thursday while expressing gratitude for his release and insisting that the allegations against him were "meritless and unsubstantiated".

    "No person should ever be indefinitely held in solitary confinement for the purpose of being forced into making a confession," said Ghosn.

    "But restricting all communication with my wife is an outrage and we are being punished because she has been so effective in publicly defending me."

    The latest indictment is related to payments allegedly channelled for Ghosn's personal use by a Nissan subsidiary to a distributor in Oman. Those payments caused the carmaker to sustain a $5m loss.

    French carmaker Renault, which Ghosn headed until January, said it also reported "potential issues concerning payments to one of Renault's distributors in the Middle East" to prosecutors.

    Ghosn was arrested for the fourth time in early April, a month after his release from the detention centre, when he posted nearly $9m in bail, ending a stretch of more than 100 days in custody. 

    Ghosn was first arrested in November and has since been charged with breach of trust and falsifying financial documents to under-report his income for years. He has repeatedly denied the allegations.

    Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors sacked Ghosn as chairman following his arrest in November. He stepped down as chairman and chief executive of Renault in January after a previous bail application was rejected.

    In a video statement taped shortly before his rearrest, Ghosn blamed the charges on what he called a "conspiracy" and "dirty game" by some Nissan executives.

    SOURCE: News agencies