Japanese court extends Nissan ex-chair Ghosn's detention until April 22

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The Tokyo District Court said Friday that it had extended former Nissans board chairman Carlos Ghosn's detention until April 22 to allow prosecutors time to bring formal charges against him or let him free.

The architect of the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance called the re-arrest "outrageous and arbitrary".

The new arrest warrant for Ghosn was served over an allegation of aggravated breach of trust in connection with the misuse of Nissan funds paid to an Omani distributor.

In December a year ago, the court turned down the prosecution's demand for an extension of his detention after Ghosn was served a second arrest warrant for allegedly violating the financial instruments and exchange law. Meanwhile, the scandal around the alleged financial wrongdoing remains a major distraction for all three carmakers.

On Thursday, Ghosn's wife Carole, who had left for France after Ghosn's latest arrest, returned for questioning in a Tokyo court. Details have not been disclosed.

Later on Friday, a court rejected the defence team's appeal against the extension, meaning that the team may have to make a fresh bail application if Ghosn is indicted on further charges at the end of his new detention.

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Ghosn's almost two decades of leadership of the Japanese automaker came to a sudden end after his initial arrest in November.

Long detention and multiple arrests are routine in Japan, but rearresting a person who already cleared bail as Ghosn did before is unusual.

He was also dismissed as Chairman of Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and replaced as Chairman of Renault SA after he tendered his resignation while in detention in Tokyo.

Some Nissan executives view the partnership as unfair, while the French government, Renault's largest shareholder, has sought to merge the two companies, according to sources familiar with the matter.

In a video message released Tuesday, Ghosn said his arrest was the result of "backstabbing" by Nissan, saying that a "few executives" there felt threatened by what might happen to the company's autonomy in a potential convergence or merger with Renault.

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