By Naomi Tajitsu
TOKYO (Reuters) – Former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn was set to walk out of a Japanese detention center for a second time since his arrest last year on financial misconduct charges, after posting the $4.5 million bail set by a Tokyo court on Thursday.
Bail will enable the former titan of the global auto industry to better prepare for his criminal trial expected later this year, when he will fight his latest charge of aggravated breach of trust along with three other accusations of financial misdoing during his time at the helm of Japan’s No. 2 automaker.
Ghosn has denied all four charges against him, which include understating his income and temporarily transferring personal financial losses onto Nissan’s books.
The Tokyo District Court said in a statement that it had approved a bail request from Ghosn’s defense team and set bail at 500 million yen ($4.5 million), roughly half his previous bail of 1 billion yen.
The once-feted executive will be free to leave the detention center where he has been in custody since his April 4 re-arrest, but his movements and communications will be strictly monitored and restricted to prevent fleeing the country and tampering with evidence, the court said.
Ghosn’s lawyers filed the bail request on Monday after the former executive was indicted for allegedly enriching himself at a cost of $5 million to Nissan from July 2017 through July 2018.
The court’s decision marks the second time Ghosn has made bail and is the latest turn in a scandal which has rocked the global auto industry and exposed tensions in the automaking partnership between Nissan and France’s Renault SA (PA:).
He was initially released last month, but then re-arrested earlier this month on the new charges, returning to the Tokyo detention center where he had previously spent 108 days following his first arrest in November.
Ghosn has said he is the victim of a boardroom coup, accusing former Nissan colleagues of “backstabbing”, describing them as selfish rivals bent on derailing a closer alliance between the Japanese automaker and Renault, its top shareholder.
When he was last released, the former executive traded in his usual tailored suit and chauffeured sedan for a disguise of workman’s uniform, glasses and a mask to slip past reporters before being whisked away in a modest compact van.
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