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Ex-Nissan chief denied bail in Japan

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TOKYO: A Tokyo court yesterday rejected a request by former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn for bail following fresh charges, dashing his hopes for an early release from his Japanese jail cell.

The decision means the auto tycoon is likely to stay in custody until his trial, which his defence lawyer has said could take six months to begin.

The Tokyo District Court said in a statement that "a request filed by lawyers for his bail release was rejected today".

Last Friday, prosecutors pressed formal charges against Ghosn, 64, over two more allegations of financial misconduct, all of which the businessman denies.

In a dramatic courtroom appearance yesterday, Ghosn denounced the allegations against him, saying he had been "wrongly accused and unfairly detained".

He has been indicted on two counts of allegedly under-declaring his income by more than 9 billion yen (S$112 million) in total over eight fiscal years in documents to shareholders.

Ghosn also stands charged with "aggravated breach of trust" over a complex alleged scheme in which he is said to have tried to transfer foreign exchange losses to Nissan's books.

His detention has prompted some international criticism of Japan's legal system, which permits prosecutors to hold suspects while they investigate an allegation and also allows lengthy pre-trial detention once charges have been filed.

Ghosn has so far been denied visits from anyone except his lawyers and diplomats from the three countries where he holds citizenship - Brazil, France and Lebanon. But a court ruling last week means his family can now visit him. - AFP