January 2, 2020 / 12:12 PM / 16 days ago

From arrest to flight - key dates in the Ghosn affair

(Reuters) - Ousted Nissan (7201.T) boss Carlos Ghosn decided to flee Japan after learning that his trial had been delayed until April 2021 and also because he had not been allowed to speak to his wife, sources close to Ghosn said on Thursday.

Ghosn, 65, the former head of Renault (RENA.PA), and one of the best known figures in the car industry, faces four charges - which he denies - including hiding income and enriching himself through payments to dealerships in the Middle East.

Following are some of the main dates in the case from his arrest 14 months ago to his audacious escape this week.

Dec. 31, 2019:

Ghosn said he had fled to Lebanon to escape a “rigged” justice system in Japan, raising questions about how one of the world’s most-recognised executives had slipped away while on bail.

It was unclear how Ghosn, who holds French, Brazilian and Lebanese citizenship, was able to orchestrate his departure from Japan. He had been under strict surveillance by authorities while out on bail and had surrendered his passports.

April 25, 2019:

Ghosn walked out of a Japanese jail, freed on bail for a second time, after agreeing to curbs on contacting his wife as he awaited trial on financial misconduct charges.

April 4, 2019:

Japanese prosecutors arrested Ghosn again on suspicion the former Nissan boss had tried to enrich himself at the automaker’s expense, in another dramatic twist that his lawyers said was an attempt to muzzle him.

This marked the fourth time that prosecutors had arrested the once-feted executive, a scandal that has rocked the global auto industry and shone a harsh light on Japan’s judicial system.

March 6, 2019:

Ghosn, who had been detained for more than 100 days, left a Tokyo prison on a $9 million bail, slipping past reporters in a face mask and moving closer to mounting a defence against financial misconduct charges that he has called “meritless”.

Surrounded by security guards and dressed in a workman’s uniform and a blue cap, Ghosn’s face was obscured by thick glasses and the surgical-type mask.

Jan. 8, 2019:

Ghosn declared his innocence in his first public appearance since his arrest in November 2018, telling a Tokyo court that he had been wrongly accused of financial misconduct.

Ghosn was brought into the courtroom in handcuffs and a rope around his waist, wearing a navy suit and white shirt without a tie, and looking thinner than before his arrest, with his dark hair showing grey roots.

Dec. 21, 2018:

Japanese prosecutors arrested Ghosn again on new allegations of making Nissan shoulder $16.6 million in personal investment losses, dashing chances he would be released on bail before Christmas.

Dec.10, 2018:

A video statement made by the former Nissan Motor chairman Carlos Ghosn is shown on a screen during a news conference by his lawyers at Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo, Japan April 9, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato/Files

Tokyo prosecutors indicted Ghosn for allegedly under-reporting his income. They also re-arrested him on allegations of understating his income for three more years through March 2018.

Nov. 19, 2018:

Japanese police arrested Ghosn when he arrived at a Tokyo airport in his private jet and prosecutors accused him of under-reporting his salary by roughly half over a five-year period through March 2015.

Editing by Keith Weir and Jane Merriman

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