Ghosn Applies for Bail for Third Time After 100 Days in Jail

(Bloomberg) -- Carlos Ghosn applied for bail from a Tokyo jail cell for the third time, now armed with new lawyers seeking to end an incarceration that has lasted 100 days.

The application to a Tokyo court was made Thursday by the team of lawyers Ghosn, 64, hired earlier this month. His previous lawyers lost two requests for bail, and the former Nissan Motor Co. chairman faces as many as 10 years in prison if convicted of several charges. A trial likely is several months away.

Ghosn -- accused of aggravated breach of trust and filing false statements to regulators regarding $80 million in deferred income looms -- is getting more aggressive with his defense. His lead lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka, said this month the car titan’s Nov. 19 arrest was the result of a conspiracy inside the automaker. He didn’t name any Nissan officials.

Ghosn Applies for Bail for Third Time After 100 Days in Jail

Ghosn is confronting a Japanese legal system with a 99 percent conviction rate, and the case has put the country’s processes under a spotlight. It’s not uncommon in Japan for suspects to endure lengthy pretrial detentions, and suspects often are re-arrested on suspicion of new charges to keep them in custody while prosecutors attempt to build a case. Bail is the exception more than the rule.

Legal experts say this is all a strategy to extract a confession and make a trial easier. In Ghosn’s case, the judge at a Jan. 8 hearing said his continued detention was due to flight risk and the danger of witness or evidence tampering.

An associate for Hironaka declined to comment on the contents of the bail application, saying the lawyer will answer questions at a media briefing scheduled for Monday.

The arrest of one of the world’s most famous automotive executives has raised concerns about the future of the world’s biggest car alliance forged by Nissan, Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. Ghosn, the glue binding the alliance together since he took command in the 1990s, was the chairman of all three companies but has been removed from those positions since the arrest.

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