Nissan top executive Munoz resigns amid broadened Ghosn probe


Carlos Ghosn was hit with a third set of charges on Friday.

Nissan, which ousted Ghosn as chairman days after his November 19 arrest, said in a statement it remained committed to the alliance in the wake of the scandal that has strained ties with its French 43.4-percent owner.

If the bail application is rejected, Ghosn will spend at least another two months in jail, a detention period that can then be extended by the court for a month at a time.

Ghosn's defense lawyers said they will still seek his release on bail despite the new charges.

This week he suffered a fever that prompted prosecutors to suspend their interrogations, though his lawyer said Friday his temperature had gone back down.

Ghosn's lawyer said earlier this week that his client would likely be held until the trial which could begin in about six months.

Ghosn's lawyers are now able to meet him.

Ghosn has appeared in public just once since his shock November 19 arrest, during the Tuesday court hearing called after his lawyers requested judges explain the tycoon's ongoing detention.

He faces a combined maximum sentence of 15 years in prison if found guilty of the charges.

Nissan said earlier that its board had also met Thursday, when directors had received "an updated report" on its own investigations into Ghosn's alleged misconduct.

Ghosn is also accused of under-reporting his income by tens of millions of dollars in documents to investors based on an understanding that he would receive them as post-retirement compensation.

The second charge filed Friday is for aggravated breach of trust, which involves a complex scheme under which Ghosn allegedly tried to transfer losses on foreign exchange contracts to Nissan's books.

While Nissan dismissed Ghosn as Chairman shortly after his arrest, Renault has retained him as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, saying it needs evidence of his wrongdoing.

The Yomiuri Shimbun said US$100 million was paid to sales agents in five Middle Eastern countries from Ghosn's special "CEO reserve".

"I am pleading with the Japanese authorities to provide us with any information at all about my husband's health", Carole Ghosn said.

Renault, which is the biggest shareholder in Nissan, has refrained from removing Ghosn, instead appointing interim replacements.

"We are fearful and very anxious his recovery will be complicated while he continues to endure such harsh conditions and unfair treatment", she said in a statement.

"The review process has examined the compensation of the current Groupe Renault Executive Committee members for the financial years 2017 and 2018 and has concluded that it is both in compliance with applicable laws and free from any fraud", it said in a statement.

Doctors at the Tokyo Detention Center had said visits and questioning should be put off to allow Ghosn to rest after he ran a fever of 38.8 C (101.8 F) late Wednesday.