Japanese prosecutors ask judges to question Ghosn’s wife

Carlos Ghosn and wife Carole Ghosn. (AFP pic)

TOKYO: Prosecutors in Tokyo have asked judges to question Carlos Ghosn’s wife in connection with funds allegedly misappropriated by the former Nissan Motor chairman, Japan’s public broadcaster NHK said on Sunday.

Prosecutors arrested Ghosn again on Thursday on suspicion he had tried to enrich himself at the Nissan’s expense, in another dramatic twist that his lawyers said was an attempt to muzzle him.

NHK said prosecutors suspect that Ghosn siphoned off part of the payments through a company where his wife, Carole Ghosn, is an executive to purchase a yacht and a boat.

The prosecutors asked her to meet them for voluntary questioning as an unsworn witness, but the request was turned down, which prompted them to ask judges to question her on their behalf before they open the first hearing on the allegations, the broadcaster said.

Such a request gives judges the power to question on a mandatory basis witnesses who refuse to testify, according to NHK.

Prosecutors were not immediately available for comment on the NHK report.

Ghosn’s lead lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka, said on Thursday prosecutors confiscated Ghosn’s mobile phone, documents, notebooks and diaries, along with his wife’s passport and mobile phone.

Under Japanese law, prosecutors will be able to hold Ghosn for up to 22 days without charge.

The fresh arrest opens up the possibility that he will be interrogated again without his lawyer present, as is the norm inJapan.

The additional charge would likely prolong Ghosn’s trial, which is expected to begin later this year, his lawyer has said, adding that loss of access to Ghosn’s trial-related documents could put his client at a disadvantage in fighting his case.

Meanwhile, Carole has flown to Paris to appeal to the French government to help her husband and said the government “should do more for him”, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

“I think the French government should do more for him. I don’t think they’ve done enough. I don’t think he’s had enough support and he’s calling for assistance. As a French citizen, it should be a right”, she told the FT https://on.ft.com/2UCBXvq in an interview before boarding her flight out of Japan late on Friday.