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Tokyo court denies request for Nissan Ghosn’s release on bail



FILE PHOTO: Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, attends the Tomorrow In Motion event on the eve of press day at the Paris Auto Show, in Paris, France, Oct.1, 2018. Picture taken Oct.1, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) – The Tokyo District Court on Tuesday denied former Nissan Motor Co Ltd Chairman Carlos Ghosn’s request for release on bail after his indictment last week on two new charges, including for aggravated breach of trust.

Ghosn awaits a lengthy criminal trial that could be as long as six months away, after his surprise arrest on Nov. 19.

Last week, Ghosn was indicted for aggravated breach of trust for temporarily transferring personal investment losses to Nissan in 2008, and under-reporting his salary for three years through March 2018. He has denied the charges.

It is rare in Japan for defendants who deny their charges to be granted bail ahead of trial.

The arrest of the once-feted executive, who masterminded Nissan’s financial turnaround two decades ago, sent shockwaves through the auto industry and rocked Nissan’s alliance with Mitsubishi Motors Corp and France’s Renault SA.

Ghosn has since been removed from chairmanship positions at Nissan and Mitsubishi, but remains chairman and chief executive at Renault.

The French government, Renault’s biggest shareholder, will support Renault’s decision to keep Ghosn at its helm unless it becomes clear he will be “chronically incapacitated” by the Japanese investigation, officials said on Monday.

Tuesday is likely to see “important developments” in relation to that question, one French official said.

The case has also put Japan’s criminal justice system under international scrutiny and sparked criticism for some of its practices, including keeping suspects in detention for long periods and prohibiting defense lawyers from being present during interrogations, which can last eight hours a day.

Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim and Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Christopher Cushing