The drama surrounding fallen auto executive Carlos Ghosn erupted again as Japanese prosecutors rearrested him on fresh allegations that he used Nissan Motor Co. funds for his own purposes.

Authorities detained Ghosn early on Thursday on suspicion of aggravated breach of trust, using company funds that were paid to a dealership in Oman for his personal purposes, national broadcaster NHK reported. Prosecutors showed up at Ghosn’s Tokyo apartment shortly before 6 a.m. and a car with covered windows left about an hour later.

“My arrest this morning is outrageous and arbitrary," Ghosn said in a statement. “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."

The former chairman of Nissan, Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. had been free on bail for less than a month. Renault and Nissan have uncovered payments made under Ghosn that allegedly went toward corporate jets, a yacht and his son’s startup, leading the French carmaker to alert authorities about potential wrongdoing, people familiar with the matter have said.

Carlos Ghosn was arrested this morning. Photo: Bloomberg
Carlos Ghosn was arrested this morning. Photo: Bloomberg

Another lengthy stay in prison could make it harder for Ghosn to prepare for his trial on charges of financial misconduct, and refocus international attention on Japan’s criminal justice system.

‘Tell the Truth’

Ghosn, who was arrested Nov. 19 and jailed for more than 100 days, has vigorously denied accusations of transferring personal trading losses to the automaker and under-reporting his income. He was arrested just as he was preparing to tell his side of the story. The former auto executive had tweeted Wednesday that he planned to hold a news conference on April 11 to “tell the truth" about accusations against him.

The Oman-related transactions were revealed in probes and amounted to millions of euros to companies in Oman and Lebanon that may have then been used for the personal benefit of Ghosn and his family, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the details aren’t public. Kyodo News reported that the charges related to the latest arrest accuse Ghosn of using 563 million yen ($5 million) for personal purposes.

Earlier this week, a Paris-based spokeswoman for the Ghosn family denied any wrongdoing by Ghosn and said reports of Oman payments, use of the airplanes and the startup are part of a smear campaign to make the former executive look greedy.

The November arrest of the car titan destabilized a three-way alliance between Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi. Then last month, the automakers announced a new governance structure designed for smoother and more equitable decision-making. Another re-arrest is unlikely to impact the manufacturers, but could put Nissan and Renault under closer scrutiny, because of their involvement in the payments.

Junichiro Hironaka, Ghosn’s lawyer, told reporters that the rearrest on Thursday was “extremely inappropriate," adding that the court will ultimately decide whether the former auto executive will be detained further. He said he hasn’t discussed the reported Oman payments with his client.

“After being wrongly imprisoned for 108 days, my biggest hope and wish today is for a fair trial," Ghosn said in his statement. “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."


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

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