Ex-Nissan chair Ghosn leaves jail, says to fight Japan’s ‘meritless’ charges

Ex-Nissan chair Ghosn leaves jail, says to fight Japan's 'meritless' charges
Ex-Nissan chair Ghosn leaves jail, says to fight Japan's 'meritless' charges

Ousted Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn was released from jail on Wednesday after posting $9 million in bail, giving the executive fresh impetus to craft his defense against financial misconduct charges in Japan.

He was wearing a workman’s uniform, face mask, blue cap and glasses when he slipped out of the Tokyo Detention House and got into a minicar unrecognized by many of the journalists and TV crews camped outside the facility, television footage showed.

Public broadcaster NHK later showed aerial footage of the minicar driving away.

The former titan of the global auto industry had been confined to a small, unheated room in the detention center for more than 100 days since he was arrested on Nov. 19 on charges Ghosn has described as “meritless”.

The Tokyo District Court said Ghosn has paid the 1 billion yen ($9 million) bail, among the highest ever in Japan, after it rejected a last-ditch appeal by prosecutors to keep him in jail.

Ghosn, also the former chairman of Renault and Mitsubishi Motors, was granted bail after he gave assurances that he would remain in Tokyo, surrender his passport to his lawyer and submit to extensive surveillance.

He has agreed to set up cameras at the entrances and exits to his residence, and is prohibited from using the internet or sending and receiving text messages. Ghosn is also banned from communicating with parties involved in his case, and permitted computer access only at his lawyer’s office.

He faces charges of aggravated breach of trust and under-reporting his compensation by about $82 million at Nissan for nearly a decade. If convicted on all charges, he faces a maximum sentence of up to 15 years in jail, prosecutors have said.

“I am innocent and totally committed to vigorously defending myself in a fair trial against these meritless and unsubstantiated accusations,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.