Former Nissan chief Ghosn leaves jail after posting bail

Former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn has been released from jail after posting a bail of 1 billion yen ($9m) in cash on Wednesday, more than three months after he was arrested.

The business tycoon walked out of the detention centre in northern Toyko after the court rejected a last-ditch appeal from prosecutors to block his release.

Ghosn once again proclaimed his innocence of the charges levelled against him, which include claims he under-reported his salary and sought to shift personal losses to Nissan’s books.

“I am innocent and totally committed to vigorously defending myself in a fair trial against these meritless and unsubstantiated accusations,” the 64-year-old said in a statement. 

Members of Ghosn’s family were seen entering the building prior to his release.

The surprise court ruling granting Ghosn bail came after two unsuccessful previous attempts to win release and was the latest twist in a case that has gripped Japan and the business world since the auto industry titan’s November 19 arrest.

Ghosn shook up his legal team last month, hiring renowned defence lawyer Junichiro Hironaka, who quickly filed a new bail request.

The court had previously justified Ghosn’s ongoing detention, saying he posed a flight risk and could seek to destroy evidence, so Hironaka’s bail request offered restrictions intended to win the court’s trust.

The bail terms prevent Ghosn from leaving Japan and include other measures restricting his communications.

Kyodo news agency said the measures will restrict Ghosn’s mobile phone use and allow him to access a computer only in his lawyer’s office during daytime hours on weekdays.

He will also be banned from contacting Nissan executives and other people with links to the allegations against him, the agency reported.

But Kyodo said Ghosn could still attend board meetings at Nissan, where he remains a director, if the court allows it.

His former right-hand man Greg Kelly, who was also detained November 19 on allegations he helped under-report the tycoon’s compensation, was freed on bail of 70 million yen ($635,000) on December 25 last year.

If convicted on all charges, Ghosn faces up to 15 years in jail.

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