Carlos Ghosn. Picture: REUTERS/REGIS DUVIGNAU
Carlos Ghosn. Picture: REUTERS/REGIS DUVIGNAU

A Tokyo court on Tuesday rejected ousted Nissan Motor chairman Carlos Ghosn’s appeal to end his detention after his arrest  on allegations of financial misconduct.

Ghosn has been held in a Tokyo jail since his arrest on November 19 on suspicion of conspiring to understate by about half his pay of about ¥10bn ($88m) awarded over five years from 2010. He was officially charged on Monday.

He was also rearrested on fresh allegations of understating his income for three more years to March 2018, with  Tokyo's district court extending his detention until December 20.

Ghosn’s lawyers filed an appeal to overturn the detention at midday on Tuesday, but it was rejected by the court by evening.

From indictment, cases typically take months to go to trial. In the past, indicted suspects had seldom been freed on bail, but in recent years that had become more common, said Masashi Akita, a defence lawyer.

It is unclear whether Ghosn would be freed on bail as some legal experts have said he may be a flight risk.

Nissan, which fired Ghosn as chairman days after his arrest, has said he masterminded the alleged misconduct with the help of former representative director Greg Kelly, also indicted on Monday. The court ordered that Kelly remain in custody until December 20.

Ghosn’s tokyo lawyer, Motonari Otsuru, could not be reached at his office for comment. 

But Kelly’s lawyer, Yoichi Kitamura, said he was certain his client’s innocence would become clear in court. “The reason I’m confident is because there was no violation of the financial instruments and exchange law,” he said.

Ghosn’s arrest marks a dramatic fall for a leader once hailed for rescuing Nissan from the brink of bankruptcy.

An informed source said the executive was treated like others in detention, held in a small, chilly cell with limited opportunities to shower and shave. 

Asked about claims that Japanese prosecutors often tried to force confessions from suspects, the deputy prosecutor at Tokyo's district public prosecutors office, Shin Kukimoto, has said no such method was being used with Ghosn and Kelly.