Carlos Ghosn, former chairman of Nissan Motor Co., sits in a taxi as he leaves his lawyer’s office in Tokyo, Japan. (Photographer: Toru Hanai/Bloomberg)

Carlos Ghosn: From Private Jet to 108 Days in Jail

(Bloomberg) -- Carlos Ghosn’s arrest on Nov. 19 in Tokyo and his fall from the apex of the automotive world was stunning and sudden. Facing allegations of financial impropriety, the former chairman of Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA is up against a Japanese criminal-justice system notorious for a near-100 percent conviction rate.

After 108 days behind bars, the deposed executive was allowed to leave jail to start mounting his defense. He posted bail of 1 billion yen ($8.9 million) and can start preparing for a trial that is likely still months away.

Carlos Ghosn: From Private Jet to 108 Days in Jail

Here’s a rundown of key developments since his arrest:

March 6:

  • Ghosn leaves the Tokyo detention center after posting one of the highest bails in Japan’s legal history. Conditions include an agreement to remain in Japan, having cameras installed at the entrance and exit of his home, restrictions to using his mobile phone, and having no access to the internet.

March 5:

  • A Tokyo court grants bail at 1 billion yen ($8.9 million) to Ghosn on his third application and rejects prosecutors’ appeal against it.
  • Ghosn’s lawyer Junichiro Hironaka says the car titan agreed to “severe” bail conditions including staying in Japan to win approval of his bail application. Ghosn reiterates his innocence and again calls the accusations “meritless and unsubstantiated.”

March 4:

  • Hironaka calls Ghosn’s long detention “extremely unfair” and says his legal team is bringing in new ideas and strategies. Hironaka hinted at the involvement of a “higher power” and “politics and economy” related to this case, in addition to saying it “wouldn’t be strange” if he secured a not-guilty verdict.
  • Lawyers representing Ghosn’s wife Carole and four children say the family is appealing to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention for help in securing his release.


Feb. 28:

  • Ghosn applies for bail again after 100 days in prison. It’s the first attempt under his new legal crew.

Feb. 20:

  • Hironaka holds his first press conference as Ghosn’s lawyer, in which he calls the case “bizarre” and alluded to it being a result of a conspiracy inside the automaker.
Carlos Ghosn: From Private Jet to 108 Days in Jail

Feb 13:

  • Ghosn replaces his legal team with one led by Hironaka, famous for his representation in prominent cases including the successful defense of a former senior bureaucrat against corruption charges.
  • The International Federation for Human Rights says the denial of Ghosn’s access to a lawyer during interrogation and his prolonged detention reflect some “serious failings” in Japan’s criminal-justice system.

Feb. 7:

  • Ghosn may have made improper use of a Renault sponsorship deal to pay for his wedding party at the Chateau de Versailles, and received a “personal benefit” worth 50,000 euros ($56,000), the French carmaker said. This marks the first time Renault has disclosed possible improprieties by its jailed former chief.

Jan. 30:

  • Ghosn says his arrest for alleged financial crimes was the result of a “plot” against him by Nissan executives and a “distortion of reality.” In response, Nissan says its own investigation unveiled “substantial and convincing evidence of misconduct.”

Jan. 29:

  • French President Emmanuel Macron tells Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that Ghosn’s detention is “too long and too hard.”

Jan. 23:

  • Ghosn resigns as chairman and chief executive officer of Renault.

Jan. 22:

  • Ghosn is denied bail despite offering to wear an electronic tracker and be monitored by guards.

Jan. 21:

  • Ghosn makes another application for bail, the second since he was indicted over aggravated breach of trust.

Jan. 18:

  • Ghosn’s lawyer Motonari Otsuru reapplies for bail to the Tokyo District Court.
  • Nissan says Ghosn improperly received 7.8 million euros ($8.8 million) from a joint venture with Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

Jan. 17:

  • Ghosn’s lawyers file appeal to the court’s decision to reject bail. The appeal is also turned down.


Jan. 15:

  • The Tokyo District Court turns down Ghosn’s bail application. The rejection means he will have to stay in jail for at least another two months.

Jan. 11:

  • Prosecutors indict Ghosn again, this time for aggravated breach of trust.
  • Ghosn’s lawyer Otsuru says he will apply for bail.

Jan. 10:

  • Ghosn comes down with a fever in jail, prompting authorities to halt his interrogation.

Jan. 9:

  • Ghosn loses an appeal against his detention.

Jan. 8:

  • Ghosn attends a hearing at a court in Tokyo in his first public appearance since being arrested, with handcuffs, plastic slippers and a rope around his waist. He rejects prosecutors’ allegations, saying he has been “wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated accusations.”
Carlos Ghosn: From Private Jet to 108 Days in Jail

Dec. 31:

  • Ghosn’s detention is extended for 10 more days, until Jan. 11.

Dec. 26:

Dec. 25:

  • Prosecutors appeal a Tokyo District Court decision to grant Ghosn’s aide Greg Kelly bail, set at 70 million yen ($626,000), which he posted in cash.

Dec. 21:

  • Japanese prosecutors re-arrest Ghosn on more serious allegations of financial misconduct, saying he is suspected of inflicting financial damage to Nissan from his own unprofitable investments. The re-arrest allows them to keep Ghosn in jail for at least a further 10 days.
  • Kelly’s lawyer applies for bail for him.

Dec. 20:

  • A Tokyo court refused prosecutors’ request to further extend the detentions of Ghosn and Kelly by 10 days. The prosecutors’ appeal against this was also rejected, bolstering his odds for bail.
  • Ghosn’s lawyers said earlier they would apply for bail.

Dec. 10:

  • Ghosn and Nissan are both indicted for understating his income by about $43 million. Kelly is also indicted for aiding Ghosn in underreporting the income.

Nov. 28:

  • Ghosn, through his lawyer Otsuru, denies media reports that he passed on personal trading losses to Nissan.

Nov. 26:

  • Mitsubishi Motors Corp. ousts Ghosn as chairman.

Nov. 22:

  • Nissan dismisses Ghosn as chairman and strips Kelly of his representative-director role.
  • A Nissan official says the automaker provided Ghosn with six houses including in Tokyo and New York.

Nov. 21:

  • Renault names Thierry Bollore interim deputy CEO with the same powers as Ghosn, while stopping short of dismissing the arrested executive from the French carmaker.

Nov. 19:

  • Ghosn is arrested in Tokyo for alleged financial crimes along with Nissan representative director Kelly.
  • At a late-night press conference, Nissan Chief Executive Officer Hiroto Saikawa expressed disappointment and indignation at Ghosn’s alleged misconduct, including using company funds for personal investments and misusing corporate assets.

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