Nissan ex-boss Ghosn released on bail

Carlos Ghosn (in the light blue hat) leaving prisonImage copyright Reuters
Image caption Carlos Ghosn (in the light blue hat) leaving prison

Former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn has left prison in Japan on bail, more than three months after being arrested.

A Tokyo court made the surprise decision to allow his release on Tuesday, setting bail at 1bn yen (£6.8m; $8.9m).

Mr Ghosn has been charged with financial misconduct and aggravated breach of trust, but denies wrongdoing.

Previous requests for bail were rejected and his lengthy detention has drawn international criticism.

The 64-year-old left the detention centre surrounded by guards, wearing a cap and white medical face mask.

Strict bail conditions including video surveillance were set as conditions for release.

Mr Ghosn was the architect of the alliance between Nissan and the French carmaker Renault. He brought Mitsubishi on board in 2016.

He ran the alliance of the three global carmakers as both chief executive and chairman and has said his arrest was the result of a “plot and treason” against him – a bid by some Nissan executives wanting to stop his plan to integrate Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi.

His imminent release from the detention centre, where he has been held since his arrest on 19 November, was signalled by the arrival of a car from the Embassy of France.

“Carlos Ghosn is being released. He is a French citizen. He will be able to defend himself with greater ease. So much, the better,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told Europe 1 radio.

“But my responsibility as finance and economy minister is to make sure that hundreds of thousands of jobs at Renault and at the Renault-Nissan alliance are protected,” he added.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Press members set up for Mr Ghosn’s exit from prison

Mr Ghosn was released after Japanese courts had rejected two previous requests for bail, saying the Brazilian-born executive posed a flight risk and could conceal evidence.

The latest bail request was filed by a new legal team and after the case has attracted global attention and drawn criticism of Japan’s criminal justice system, which allows for lengthy detention periods.

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