Carlos Ghosn’s lawyers have condemned his latest arrest as “inhuman”, claiming it has interrupted his treatment for chronic kidney failure and that prosecutors were attempting to force a confession out of the former Nissan chairman.
According to Reuters, Ghosn’s defence team said in documents prepared after he was arrested for a fourth time last week that Japanese prosecutors were attempting to frustrate their preparations for his trial – a date for which has yet to be set – and trying to force him to confess.
One of the defence documents seen by Reuters described his latest arrest as “illegal”, and the resulting interruption to his treatment for kidney disease and another medical condition as “inhuman”.
Reuters quoted a person familiar with the conditions of Ghosn’s detention as saying he is being interrogated for up to 14 hours a day at the Tokyo detention centre, sometimes in the middle of the night.
The court documents include an account by Carole Ghosn of the morning of her husband’s latest arrest.
Mrs Ghosn, who appeared in court on Thursday as a witness, said prosecutors had prevented her from contacting her lawyer when they entered the couple’s rented apartment in Tokyo.
She said she had been repeatedly subjected to body searches, forced to keep the bathroom door open when using the toilet, and that a female investigator was present in the bathroom when she undressed to take a shower.
“I felt that they were humiliating and coercing me with these inhuman actions,” she said in the account, dated 4 April.
She left Japan for France last Friday in an attempt to win support for her husband from the French government. She returned this week for an appearance at Tokyo district court over the latest allegations that her husband had misused Nissan funds.
Carlos Ghosn’s lead defence lawyer, Jun’ichirō Hironaka, confirmed Carole had answered prosecutors’ questions for three hours but declined to discuss details. “She responded in good faith, as she had promised to,” he said.
Ghosn faces three charges – two over allegations that he underreported his salary in financial documents and one that he used Nissan funds to cover personal investment losses.
He was rearrested last Thursday over allegations that he caused Nissan $5m (£3.8m) in losses by channelling cash from a discretionary company fund into a firm run by his wife, which was used to buy a luxury yacht.
The 65-year-old, who was credited with rescuing the Japanese carmaker from the brink of bankruptcy two decades ago and masterminded a successful alliance with Renault, denies all charges.
In a video message recorded shortly before he was rearrested while on bail, Ghosn claimed “backstabbing” Nissan executives had conspired to have him arrested to prevent him from forging closer ties with the French carmaker.
He was arrested for the first time last November and spent 108 days in detention before being released on bail in early March.
The Frenchman, who also has Brazilian and Lebanese nationality, is due to remain in detention until Sunday, when prosecutors can apply to hold him for an additional 10 days. After that they must release him unless they bring charges or file new allegations.
His case has prompted criticism of Japan’s system of “hostage justice”, which allows prosecutors to hold suspects without charge for long periods and question them without their lawyer present.