FORMER Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn could be released from custody today after a Japanese court denied a request by prosecutors to extend his detention.
Ghosn has been charged with under-reporting his pay but the Tokyo District Court said it rejected the request for another 10-day detention for Ghosn over an additional allegation dealing with financial reports in most recent years.
The denial is extremely rare in a country where requests from investigative authorities for extended detention are almost automatically approved.
If a bail request by his lawyer is accepted by the court, Ghosn may be released as early as today.
Prosecutors are expected to appeal against the court decision and could take further legal steps to allow them to investigate Ghosn and co-accused Greg Kelly longer.
Ghosn was arrested on November 19, along with fellow executive Kelly over allegations that they under-reported Ghosn’s pay by about five billion yen (circa £35m) between 2011 and 2015.
Both have since been charged with violation of the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act for the period.
Tokyo prosecutors last week added a second allegation that the two also under-reported another four billion yen (circa £28m) in Ghosn’s pay for 2016 to 2018, for which their first 10-day detention was to expire later today.
Prosecutors allege Ghosn’s pay was under-reported by nearly 10 billion yen (circa £63m).
The maximum penalty for violating the financial law is up to 10 years in prison, a 10 million yen (circa £70,000) fine, or both. The conviction rate in Japan is more than 99 per cent.
The arrest of an industry leader has triggered international attention and criticism over his nearly month-long custody at Tokyo Detention House.
Prosecutors faced criticism for separating the same allegation into two periods as a tactic to keep Ghosn and Kelly in detention.
Prosecutors say Ghosn and Kelly are flight risks. No trial date has been set.