Tokyo: A Tokyo court rejected a request from prosecutors to extend Carlos Ghosn’s jail detention, giving the former Nissan Motor Co. chairman a chance to seek bail and fight allegations of under-reporting of his income. Carlos Ghosn’s lawyers said they plan to apply for bail, and the car titan could be out as soon as Friday if the request is approved. Still, the prosecutors have the right to appeal against the district court’s decision.

Carlos Ghosn, 64, was arrested upon landing at a Tokyo airport on November 19 and was indicted on December 10 for falsifying securities reports which under-reported his income. The court kept extending his detention and his current tenure was due to end this week. Carlos Ghosn has denied wrongdoing.

The Tokyo district court also rejected an extension for Carlos Ghosn aide Greg Kelly, who was also detained on the same day.

“The chances of bail are very high," said Nobuo Gohara, a lawyer and former prosecutor. “To begin with, this isn’t a case that should need such a lengthy detention."

The French-Brazilian — widely credited with saving Nissan from failure and bringing it together with Renault SA — stands accused for under-reporting his income by tens of millions of dollars. The arrest has heightened tensions between Nissan and Renault, casting doubt over the viability of their alliance and highlighting the rift between the French and Japanese manufacturers over their respective powers within each others’ boardrooms.

Nissan declined to comment. The prosecutors office is scheduled to hold a media briefing at 4 p.m. in Tokyo.

Also read: How Carlos Ghosn hid $70 million from the firm that paid him

Other lawyers such as Tsutomu Nakamura, a former public prosecutor who is the founder of Nakamura International Criminal Defense in Tokyo, suggested that the court decision doesn’t necessarily mean Ghosn may walk out of jail immediately.

“The prosecutors will file the complaint against this judge’s decision immediately," he said. “I think that the prosecutors failed to prove the seriousness of the case."

If proven, Ghosn’s alleged offense may carry a sentence of as much as 10 years. The formerly high-flying executive has also been accused by Nissan of misusing company funds, including to buy homes from Brazil to Lebanon.

In addition to Ghosn, Nissan as well as former representative director Kelly, who was accused of wrongdoing and arrested with Ghosn, were also indicted December 10. Under the Japanese system, indictment allows prosecutors to lay formal charges.

Ghosn’s lawyers have said the charge that he helped himself by converting compensation to deferred pay is flawed because the compensation agreement wasn’t properly ratified, according to a statement by the office of Motonari Otsuru, Ghosn’s lawyer. Otsuru is a former head of a special investigation task force of the Tokyo public prosecutor’s office.

Nissan’s board on November 22 removed Carlos Ghosn from the post of chairman and American citizen Kelly from his position. Nissan’s partner Renault has so far not removed Ghosn from the post of chief executive officer, but instead appointed an interim person to the role.

Also read: Nissan delays picking ex-chairman Carlos Ghosn successor

Disagreements within the world’s biggest automotive alliance that was spearheaded by Ghosn have all but exploded since his arrest. Renault’s most powerful shareholder, the French state, has stressed Ghosn should be considered innocent until proven guilty and demanded that Nissan share all evidence it has gathered.

Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa travelled to Amsterdam for a December 18 meeting of the alliance between Nissan, Renault and the third partner, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. While there, he had a one-on-one meeting with Renault interim chief Thierry Bollore that Saikawa described as “positive" and “productive," according to Nissan. Saikawa has emerged as a driving force in the investigation about the alleged wrongdoing by Ghosn and Kelly. Renault, Nissan’s largest shareholder and the company that bailed out the Japanese automaker two decades back, has been pressing for specifics, as has the French government.

The arrests were the result of a coup by executives including Saikawa, Kelly’s wife, Dee Kelly, said in a video released Wednesday. Saikawa was asked on the day Ghosn and Kelly were arrested whether a coup was underway at Nissan. He replied: “That is not my understanding. I didn’t make such an explanation and think you should not think of it that way."

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed

Close