Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn Rearrested in Tokyo Minutes Before TV Interview
The embattled auto executive called his rearrest an “outrageous and arbitrary” attempt to “break” him.
Former Nissan Motors CEO Carlos Ghosn was abruptly rearrested by Tokyo prosecutors on Thursday morning weeks after his release on bail following a lengthy detention related to charges of financial misconduct at the Japanese automaker, according to NHK.
The arrest comes just hours after Ghosn tweeted that he was preparing to "tell the truth" about his legal saga at a planned press conference next week and minutes before he was to participate in a phone interview with Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo. Authorities didn't have to go looking for him, as he's been under house arrest and 24-hour surveillance since his release on March 6. Ghosn was taken into custody shortly before 6 a.m. local time.
"My arrest this morning is outrageous and arbitrary. It is part of another attempt by some individuals at Nissan to silence me by misleading the prosecutors. Why arrest me except to try to break me? I will not be broken. I am innocent of the groundless charges and accusations against me," Ghosn said in a statement provided to CBNC. "After being wrongly imprisoned for 108 days, my biggest hope and wish today is for a fair trial. I was scheduled to present my story in a press conference next week; by arresting me again, the prosecutors have denied me that opportunity, for now, but I am determined that the truth will come out. I am confident that if tried fairly, I will be vindicated."
NHK notes that it's "rare" in Japan for a defendant to be rearrested after posting bail—$9 million in Ghosn's case—but sources told the Japanese broadcaster that additional evidence uncovered in the ongoing financial investigation prompted prosecutors to act. The bail agreement also banned Ghosn from using the internet; it's not clear whether his tweet announcing the press conference was sent by him personally, which would obviously be a violation of that accord.
Bartiromo certainly thinks something is afoot. "Unbelievable night. I was about to interview @carlosghosn in exclusive on the phone. Literally as he was calling in, 10 agents showed up at his house & took him...This is criminal. Who wd invest in #japan?" she tweeted.
More likely, the arrest is in response to the latest allegations of wrongdoing by Ghosn, in which Nissan and Renault executives say it appears the former chairman and CEO funneled over $32 million in company funds through a dealership in Oman to secretly purchase a luxury yacht. Ghosn's attorneys have strongly denied the accusations, as they've steadfastly done since he was first arrested back on November 19, 2018 and charged with cooking the books to underreport his compensation and use company profits for personal gain.
Ghosn himself has maintained that his prosecution is the result of a corporate coup d'état, made easier by his status as a foreigner, where Nissan executives worked to take him down after they determined the Japanese company was becoming too closely tied with and dependent upon Renault.