Business

Tokyo court finally permits Ghosn to talk with his wife by video call

AP

After an eight-month ban on such contact, Nissan’s former Chairman Carlos Ghosn is now allowed to talk to his wife while he awaits trial on financial misconduct charges.

Requests by his defense team for the couple to be allowed to communicate had been rejected six times before Tokyo District Court finally granted the permission on Friday.

Prosecutors had argued contact between him and Carole Ghosn ran the risk of allowing evidence tampering and fabrication of accounts.

The Ghosns can now talk for one hour by video call in the presence of lawyers. The content of their discussion is restricted, and must be reported to the court.

Prosecutors appealed the latest decision, but the court rejected their appeal, according to Ghosn’s spokespeople. Other details were not available.

Ghosn is out on bail and maintains that he is innocent. He has been charged with underreporting promised compensation and breaching trust with dubious payments.

The former chairman was first arrested a year ago and spent over 100 days in detention before being granted bail. He was again taken into custody earlier this year, but was granted bail again.

Ghosn’s defense team says Japanese authorities have violated Ghosn’s rights, including by imposing restrictions on his communication with his wife.

“We can assure you that none of this has weakened Mr. Ghosn’s resolve. He is determined to fight these meritless allegations vigorously,” they said in a recent statement.

Ghosn’s lawyers accuse the prosecutors of colluding with the Japanese government and Nissan officials, to create a false case against him and destroy his reputation in order to oust him and prevent further integration of Nissan and its French alliance partner Renault SA.

They have also argued that the underreported compensation was never agreed upon or paid, that the payments were for legitimate services, and that they did not enrich Ghosn personally. Ghosn’s lawyers note that he turned down more lucrative job offers while he was at Nissan.

Ghosn, one of the auto industry’s biggest stars before his downfall, is credited with leading Nissan Motor Co. from near-bankruptcy to lucrative growth.

The date for Ghosn’s trial has not been set.

Nissan has said it does not comment on specifics of criminal proceedings, but has promised to strengthen corporate governance. Its profits and sales have tumbled since Ghosn’s arrest.