Tokyo prosecutors readying new case against Ghosn over Oman…

TOKYO (Reuters) – Tokyo prosecutors are preparing to build a fresh case against ousted Nissan Motor Co Ltd chairman Carlos Ghosn over suspect payments the automaker made to a business partner in Oman, Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper reported on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: Former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn sits inside a car as he leaves his lawyer’s office after being released on bail from Tokyo Detention House, in Tokyo, Japan, March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

Tokyo prosecutors are in discussions with the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office and others and plan to make a decision soon on whether to prosecute Ghosn on further charges of aggravated breach of trust, the newspaper said, citing sources involved in the case.

A spokesman at the Tokyo prosecutors’ office was not immediately able to comment when contacted by Reuters.

Ghosn’s spokesman has previously said payments of $32 million made over nine years were rewards for the Oman firm being a top Nissan dealer. Such dealer incentives were not directed by Ghosn and the funds were not used to pay any personal debt, the spokesman said.

Ghosn was arrested in Tokyo in November and faces charges of financial misconduct and aggravated breach of trust over allegedly failing to report around $82 million in salary and for temporarily transferring personal financial losses onto Nissan’s books during the financial crisis.

Ghosn, who previously headed the Renault-Nissan alliance, denies the charges. He was released on bail last month as he awaits trial.

Sources told Reuters earlier this week that Renault SA had alerted French prosecutors after uncovering suspect payments to a Renault-Nissan business partner in Oman while Ghosn was chief executive of the French automaker.

Nissan had previously established that its own regional subsidiary had made questionable payments of more than $30 million to the Oman distributor, Suhail Bahwan Automobiles (SBA).

Evidence sent to French prosecutors late last week showed that much of the cash was subsequently channeled to a Lebanese company controlled by Ghosn associates, the sources said.

Reuters has not been able to reach SBA for comment on the matter.

Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim, Kaori Kaneko and Tim Kelly; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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