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Japanese prosecutors want Ghosn’s wife questioned

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Tokyo, April 7 (IANS) Japanese prosecutors have asked judges to question Carlos Ghosns wife in connection with funds allegedly misappropriated by the former Nissan Motor chairman, public broadcaster NHK said on Sunday.

Tokyo prosecutors are considering questioning Ghosn’s wife, Carole, over an allegation that part of the automaker’s sales incentive payments to an Omani distributor was channeled to her company for personal use, informed sources said on Saturday.

Prosecutors suspect that Carole Ghosn’s company used the money partly to fund the purchase of a luxurious yacht mainly for their family’s use.

The prosecutors asked her to meet them for voluntary questioning as an unsworn witness, but the request was turned down, which prompted them to ask judges to question her on their behalf before they open the first hearing on the allegations, The Japan Times quoted NHK as saying.

Such a request gives judges the power to question on a mandatory basis witnesses who refuse to testify, according to the broadcaster.

Meanwhile, Carole Ghosn has flown to Paris to appeal to the French government to help her husband and said the government "should do more for him", the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

Ghosn was rearrested on Thursday on suspicion he had tried to enrich himself at Nissan’s expense, in another dramatic twist that his lawyers said was an attempt to muzzle him. The fresh arrest opens up the possibility that he will be interrogated again without his lawyer present, as is the norm in Japan.

The additional charge would likely prolong Ghosn’s trial, which is expected to begin later this year, his lawyer has said, adding that loss of access to Ghosn’s trial-related documents could put his client at a disadvantage in fighting his case.

Tokyo prosecutors confiscated Carole Ghosn’s passport and a mobile phone on Thursday when they served a fourth arrest warrant on Ghosn in connection with the misuse of Nissan monies paid to the Omani company, Suhail Bahwan Automobiles. It was not clear if her passport had been returned or whether she holds multiple passports.

Suhail Bahwan Automobiles allegedly received $15 million between December 2015 and July 2018 and transferred $5 million of it to a bank account of Good Faith Investments, a Lebanese investment firm Ghosn effectively owns. Ghosn has denied all of the allegations.

The Tokyo District Court on Friday approved the prosecutors’ request for Carlos Ghosn to be detained up to 10 days until April 14. His detention could be extended if approved by the court.

Ghosn was first arrested in November and has since been indicted on charges including violating the financial instruments law by underreporting remuneration to regulators for years and aggravated breach of trust in relation to the alleged transfer of private investment losses to Nissan, all of which he has denied.

Ghosn holds Brazilian, French and Lebanese nationality.


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