Ex-Nissan chief′s wife Carole Ghosn questioned in Tokyo over yacht purchase | News | DW | 11.04.2019
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Ex-Nissan chief's wife Carole Ghosn questioned in Tokyo over yacht purchase

As her husband lingers in jail facing financial malpractice charges, Carole Ghosn went to court for a closed-door hearing over claims her British Virgin Islands-listed company bought a yacht.

Carole Ghosn went to a Tokyo court on Thursday to answer questions as a witness in a closed-door hearing over ex-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn's alleged financial misconduct.

"She responded in good faith as she had promised to," defense lawyer Junichiro Hironaka confirmed to reporters. He did not say what the questions had been. "I believe that her answers today could help Mr Ghosn win an acquittal," said Hironaka, who was present in the court.

Carole Ghosn has become a key figure as her husband Carlos Ghosn stays in detention charged with under-declaring his salary and seeking to shift investment losses to his former employers, Nissan-Renault. 

The new case centers on an alleged transfer of $15 million (€13.3 million) from Nissan to a dealership in Oman between 2014 and 2018.  Authorities are investigating claims that Carlos Ghosn siphoned off around $5 million of Nissan funds from this transfer for his personal use. He has not been formally charged with any allegations linked to the Oman case.

Buying a yacht?

Carole Ghosn is president of a company registered in the British Virgin Islands which reportedly used some of these funds to buy a 37-meter (120-foot) yacht and a boat.

Carlos Ghosn denies all allegations made against him and claimed in a video released online on Tuesday to be the victim of a plot engineered by those who feared he would tie Nissan closer to French partner Renault.

Watch video 02:00

Nissan shareholder approve Ghosn dismissal

Naming names

Carole Ghosn had arrived back in Japan on Wednesday, which was "proof that she never intended to run away from anybody," her lawyers said.

She had left Tokyo for Paris last week, with help from the French ambassador to Tokyo because she "felt in danger," she told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper while in France.

Despite her Lebanese passport being confiscated by Japanese authorities, Carole Ghosn said she was able to use her American passport to board a flight from Tokyo and had been accompanied by the ambassador to the airport. "He didn't leave me until the plane," she said. "Up to the last second, I didn't know if they were going to let me fly. It was surreal."

While in France, Carole Ghosn defended her husband and said of his video statement: "He names the people responsible for what has happened to him. The lawyers have it. It will be released soon," she told the Journal du Dimanche. In the video, released on Tuesday, Carlos Ghosn said "This is about a plot, this is about conspiracy, this is about backstabbing."

Carlos Ghosn's detention has been extended until Sunday by a Tokyo court and prosecutors can then request an additional 10-day detention period. After that they would have to release the former Nissan chief, unless they bring new charges against him.

jm/ng (AFP, dpa, EFE)

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