Tokyo court OKs extended detention of Carlos Ghosn by prosecutors

Kyodo, JIJI

A Tokyo court on Friday approved a request from prosecutors to extend the detention of former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn, after he was arrested last week for alleged financial misconduct, an official said.

Ghosn can be held in custody for another 10 days through Dec. 10, at which time prosecutors must decide whether to indict or release him. But the 64-year-old could be detained longer if they add further charges with fresh warrants and if a court assents.

The district court also decided to extend the detention of Greg Kelly, a former Nissan representative director who was arrested along with Ghosn, for alleged conspiracy.

While further allegations of financial misconduct by the 64-year-old Ghosn are making headlines, Japan has faced criticism overseas for continuing to keep the man viewed as the savior of the Japanese automaker in detention. Ghosn, who holds French citizenship, was arrested Nov. 19, and his detention period was extended 10 days through Friday based on a court decision issued on Nov. 21.

Japanese law sets detention limits for a suspect at 23 days for an arrest warrant served by police and 22 days for a warrant served by prosecutors. Authorities can add further charges with fresh warrants, meaning a person can be detained indefinitely if a court approves it. French media reports have been critical of the way Ghosn has been treated since his arrest, with some describing the situation as harsher than when a person is caught for terrorism.

But Shin Kukimoto, deputy prosecutor at the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office, told a regular news conference Thursday that “there is no problem” with Ghosn’s detention, arguing that it is based on “necessity.”

He also questioned the appropriateness of “criticizing a country just because it has a different system” from other countries.

Ghosn was arrested on suspicion of reporting only about ¥5 billion ($44 million) of nearly ¥10 billion in compensation over five years from fiscal 2010. The prosecutors also suspect that Ghosn underreported a further ¥3 billion in remuneration received over three years from April 2015. Joao de Mendonca, Brazilian consul general in Tokyo, meanwhile said Ghosn misses his family and has left a brief message for them.

In an interview Thursday, Mendonca said he has met with Ghosn three times at the Tokyo Detention House since his arrest, and that he gave him books about European and Brazilian history as well as foreign magazines at his request.

Mendonca said he has also passed a “very simple and very private” message to his family members, including his mother, who live in Brazil.

Mendonca said that Ghosn was in “good health and good spirit” and seemed to be “well treated” at the Tokyo Detention House.

In the meetings, each of which lasted about 20 minutes, Mendonca spoke in Portuguese with Ghosn, who has Brazilian nationality, according to the consul general.

Ghosn seemed “happy to be able to speak Portuguese,” Mendonca said.

They did not talk about the scandal at all because the purpose of the so-called “consul visits” is simply to see if Brazilians are “well taken care of” and to give them “assistance if needed,” Mendonca added.