Nissan ex-chair Ghosn's wife fears his trial may be unfair


TOKYO (AP) — The wife of Carlos Ghosn, the former chairman of Nissan and Renault, said Wednesday she is worried whether her husband, detained in Japan on financial misconduct allegations, will receive a fair trial, and expressed outrage over a justice system that dragged him back into custody.

“This has been a nightmare. We’re devastated, our lives turned upside down. And we see no end in sight. For him to be rearrested, and he is on bail, that’s something unheard of. I’m shocked,” Carole Ghosn said in a telephone interview from New York.

Carlos Ghosn, who led Nissan Motor Co. for 20 years, rescuing it from the brink of bankruptcy, was arrested in November and released on bail last month, but was arrested again on April 4.

His wife recalled the scene of his rearrest earlier this month, saying 20 prosecutors came into their Tokyo apartment at 5:50 a.m., when she was still in her pajamas, and seized her cellphone, passport and documents that defense lawyers had been preparing for the trial.

Although such seizures might lead to a mistrial in the U.S., prosecutors are allowed such actions in Japan, legal experts say. Early morning arrests and raids are routine in Japan.

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“We are concerned about a fair trial,” she said. “They now know what we were planning as a defense, what evidence we have.”

He has been charged with falsifying financial documents in under-reporting his retirement compensation and with breach of trust in dubious payments. He says he’s innocent, noting the compensation was never decided and saying the payments were legitimate.

In a video prepared before his latest arrest, he accused some executives at Nissan of plotting against him over what he called selfish fears they had about his leadership and Nissan merging with French alliance partner Renault SA.

Nissan has said an internal investigation found wrongdoing, ousted Ghosn from its board and promised to fix faulty governance.

Ghosn’s detention has been approved through April 22, but that can be extended further. Prosecutors say the latest breach of trust allegations are new, and there is risk evidence may be destroyed.

Carole Ghosn said she will return to Japan when her husband is released on bail.

She said the conditions of her husband’s detention are harsh, using a term that refers to long detentions without convictions in Japan, “hostage justice.”

Like others who undergo detention in Japan, Ghosn is in solitary confinement, and is interrogated by prosecutors all day. He gets fresh air a half hour each day, but is not allowed outdoors over the weekend.

Carole Ghosn said she was worried about his health because he has been weakened by the long detention and is not getting enough sunlight.

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She was also recently questioned in a Japanese court. She declined to give details, but said there was little substance to the questioning. She is not a suspect but agreed to be questioned voluntarily.

She stressed that her husband is ready for a fight, and said she was proud of him.

“When you’re put in a situation that is so unfair, it eats you up and you want to fight every moment that you can because he knows how unjust it is, and he knows he’s been stabbed in the back,” she said.

“Anyone who is put in an unfair situation, you want to fight for your rights. You want to fight for your innocence. You want to fight to clear your name.”


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