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Reuters/Regis Duvignau
Carlos Ghosn was known as “le cost killer.”
GOING IN REVERSE

Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn has been re-arrested in Tokyo

By Natasha Frost

It probably won’t be a happy new year for Carlos Ghosn. The former Nissan chairman was re-arrested in Japan today on suspicion of aggravated breach of trust. He faces as much as 20 days in detention.

The arrest comes a day after a Japanese court refused to extend Ghosn’s detainment. It will likely end any lingering hopes that the auto exec may be released on bail before the end of the year. Nissan board member Greg Kelly, who was arrested with Ghosn in mid-November, is still awaiting an official decision on bail.

Ghosn’s initial arrest was the result of an internal investigation (paywall) which accused the 64-year-old, among other things, of under-reporting his salary by as much as ¥5 billion (US$45 million) between 2011 and 2015. He was reportedly planning to merge Renault and Nissan at the time.

The Brazilian-born French national had become celebrated for a star-studded record of reinvigorating sickly car brands such as Renault and Nissan. (His nickname, “le cost killer,” captured his hard-nosed management style.) In Japan, he was an unlikely sex symbol—the subject of a manga comic (paywall) called The True Life of Carlos Ghosn and the inspiration behind a weird sushi bento box (paywall) with a “sticky rice [face], lips of seaweed, eyes from squid, pupils from smoked eel and spectacle frames from crab strips.”

Ghosn now faces 48 hours of questioning. It is then up to prosecutors to decide whether to apply to detain him for 10 days, and possibly for another 10 after that. He continues to deny all of the allegations. “Things as they stand are absolutely unacceptable,” he said, through his lawyer. “I want to have my position heard and restore my honor in court.” His lengthy detention time has already been met with criticism internationally, as have interrogations by Japanese authorities without a lawyer present.