In a move that increasingly calls into question the motives of Japanese prosecutors, Carlos Ghosn, the ex-Chairman of Nissan motors, who has already been arrested three times, was re-arrested by Tokyo prosecutors on Thursday morning. Prosecutors allege in their new arrest warrant that Ghosn was responsible for a $5 million loss made by the automaker and relate to allegations over a payment made to a distributor in Oman.
According to unnamed sources in Tokyo, Ghosn, who had been released on March 6, was arrested at 6am as prosecutors descended upon his Tokyo apartment. The prosecutors allowed Ghosn to get dressed in casual clothes and then took him back to the Tokyo Detention Center.
The prosecutors attempted to cover the windows in their vehicles so that media that were camped outside of Ghosn’s home had difficulty in take photos of videos of Ghosn being rearrested.
Tokyo prosecutors are under intense pressure related to the Ghosn case and his re-arrest came only one-day after Ghosn had said on Twitter that he planned to hold his first press conference on April 11 to "tell the truth about what's happening."
Related to his arrest this week, Ghosn released a statement through is attorney’s that and said, "My arrest this morning is outrageous and arbitrary. It is part of another attempt by individuals at Nissan to silence me by misleading the prosecutors. I am innocent of the groundless charges and accusations against me."
Prosecutors asked that Ghosn be held in detention until April 14, making it impossible for him to hold his schedule press conference and making it impossible for him to speak to the press. Ghosn’s attorney, Junichiro Hironaka said of the re-arrest that, "I don't understand why Mr Ghosn will be held in custody. It is extremely inappropriate."
Ghosn was originally arrested in November 2018, remained in custody until last month and had been preparing to defend himself against multiple charges, including underreporting his remuneration and aggravated breach of trust in relation to private investment losses to Nissan. While in detention, Nissan, Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp all removed Ghosn from his role as Chairman of the three-company alliance that he designed and that was seen as a global success story.
The treatment of Ghosn after his arrest in November has focused global attention on Japan's outdated and unfair criminal justice system. Japanese prosecutors ability to detain suspects indefinitely while under investigation, conducting interrogations for 8 ~ 12 hours per day without a lawyer present, and limiting contact with family and lawyers have been labeled as antiquated practices that are coercive in nature.
Prosecutors note that they have a 98% conviction rate because of their “system” while human rights advocates point to the fact that most people confess their “guilt” so that they can get out of detention whether they are guilty or not.
Ghosn’s release took place immediately after his family had appealed to the United Nations Human Rights Commission about Ghosn’s detention and that his re-arrest came about because of his announcement that he would hold a press conference to discuss his case. Since Ghosn’s trial is expected to begin in May, it is now unknown whether Ghosn will be forced to remain in detention until that time or whether he will be released before his trial begins.