Nissan Motor Co. former chairman Carlos Ghosn, charged with financial improprieties and detained in Tokyo for more than a month, has also been accused of a breach of trust that caused a multi-million-dollar financial loss for Nissan. Ghosn denies the allegations, his Japanese lawyer has told other media. The fresh allegation dashes his hope for a quick release, forcing his detention to extend after Christmas and New Year's Day.
The arrest of an industry icon has triggered worldwide attention and the scandal has raised concerns over the financial health of the Japanese automaker and the future of its alliance with Renault SA of France.
French car-maker Renault has so far not replaced Ghosn as CEO opting instead to put an interim governance in place.
Under Japanese law, suspects can be re-arrested several times for different allegations, allowing prosecutors to question them for prolonged periods - a system that has drawn criticism internationally.
Ghosn was quoted by his lawyer as saying that he is determined to prove his innocence in court and restore his honor, NHK reported Friday.
If a bail request by his lawyer is accepted by the court, Ghosn may be released as early as Thursday.
The statute of limitations for aggravated breach of trust is seven years, but the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office's special investigation unit probing the case has apparently deemed that the statute of limitations does not include the time he was overseas.
Nissan declined to comment on the court's decision.
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Renault owns 43 percent of Nissan but the Japanese firm now makes more money, leading to rifts within the tie-up that Ghosn forged and was credited with holding together. He was later charged with the same alleged financial crime over the past three years.
Nissan, which has also been indicted in the case, has said Ghosn and Kelly's alleged misconduct was first brought to its attention by a whistleblower.
The Tokyo court said in a statement that the lawyer for Ghosn's former deputy Greg Kelly, who was arrested along with Ghosn, has requested his client's release.
Ghosn's arrest has marked a dramatic fall for a leader once hailed for rescuing Nissan from the brink of bankruptcy.
Ghosn's arrest came after a months-long investigation by Nissan that it didn't share with its French partner in the world's biggest auto alliance. Kelly's wife, Donna Kelly, said in a video message carried by Japanese networks that her husband was "wrongly accused as part of a power grab" at Nissan.
A newly formed committee looking into governance at Nissan is to report its findings by March, but the decision on a new chairman could potentially stretch beyond that, said current CEO Hiroto Saikawa. On that day, the prosecution asked the court to order Ghosn to stay in custody.
Since Ghosn and Kelly's November 19 arrests, relations between Renault and Nissan have grown frostier amid signs the Japanese carmaker may use Ghosn's absence to try and agitate for greater control within their alliance. He replied: "That is not my understanding".