Carlos Ghosn, former Nissan chairman, granted bail in Japan | Business

Carlos Ghosn has been granted bail by a court in Japan, more than three months after the former Nissan chairman was arrested over allegations of financial misconduct.

The Tokyo district court set bail at 1bn yen ($9m) after a request last week by Ghosn’s newly appointed legal team, Kyodo news agency reported.

Ghosn’s release is not guaranteed, however. Prosecutors have appealed against the court’s decision and could file additional allegations to keep him in detention.

Ghosn is accused of underreporting his income by tens of millions of dollars and transferring personal investment losses to Nissan – allegations he has repeatedly denied.

Ghosn’s head lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka, is nicknamed “the acquitter” for his success at winning acquittals in high-profile cases in Japan, where the conviction rate in court cases is 99%.

Hironaka said on Monday he was optimistic he could secure bail, provided Ghosn agreed to submit to greater surveillance and a limit on his electronic communications.

The case against the 64-year-old, who was hailed Nissan’s saviour two decades ago, has rocked Japan’s car industry and cast doubt over the future of the carmaker’s alliance with Renault.

Two bail requests made last month by his previous defence team, led by the former prosecutor Motonari Otsuru, were rejected by the same court.

Ghosn may yet remain in detention because Japanese prosecutors can hold a suspect for up to 22 days while they investigate an allegation, and then can apply for repeated one-month stretches of pre-trial detention for each charge that is eventually levelled.

The court had rejected the two earlier bail requests, saying it believed Ghosn, who has spent more than 100 days at a detention centre in Tokyo, was a flight risk or could try to tamper with evidence.

Ghosn has previously offered to wear an ankle tag and hire guards to monitor his movements, and promised not to leave Japan.

Ghosn, who could be released later on Tuesday, was first arrested on 19 November along with former Nissan executive director Greg Kelly. Kelly, who has denied helping Ghosn underreport his income, was freed on bail on Christmas Day.

Japan’s criminal justice system has drawn criticism over the length of Ghosn’s detention. On Monday, his family said they would appeal to the United Nations human rights council in protest at his “mediaeval” treatment.

Wire agencies contributed to this report.

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