TOKYO -- Indicted former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn was finally allowed to talk with his wife on Friday, seven months after a Japanese court banned direct contact between the two.
Ghosn spoke with his wife Carole for about an hour around midday by video conference from Ghosn’s attorney’s office, one of his defense team lawyers confirmed.
The Tokyo District Court approved the brief one-off call a day earlier, after rejecting repeated petitions by Ghosn to do so over the months. The court had prohibited contact as part of the strict bail conditions set when Ghosn was released from jail a second time in late April.
Prosecutors had argued that allowing Ghosn direct contact ran the risk the two would conspire to tamper with evidence. Ghosn’s team countered that his wife has no direct involvement in his case and that the restriction is merely a penalty designed to apply psychological pressure.
“This court decision is valid only for this one time, and we are not sure if the court will grant another chance, going forward,” one of Ghosn’s lawyers said. “But we will continue to request that the court ease bail conditions to allow Ghosn to communicate or meet his wife.”
The couple was allowed to speak only with the oversight of a lawyer, and they were barred from discussing the legal case brought against Ghosn. Carole Ghosn last saw her husband in early April, when Ghosn, then out on bail from his first arrest, was taken into custody for the second time.
During both lockups, Ghosn spent a total of 129 days in solitary confinement.
Ghosn faces four indictments in Japan following his initial Nov. 19, 2019 arrest. The first two are charges of failing to disclose more than $80 million in deferred compensation. The two other counts are breach of trust charges accusing Ghosn of diverting company money for personal gain.
Ghosn, who denies the entire slate of charges, faces up 15 years in prison and a fine of up to 150 million yen ($1.4 million) if convicted on all four counts.