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Report: Japan prosecutors add to charges against ex-Nissan boss Ghosn

Prosecutors in Japan have filed more charges against former Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. boss Carlos Ghosn as the businessman's lawyers said his hopes of release from a Tokyo jail prior to his trial look slim, the Financial Times reported Jan. 11.

Prosecutors brought a new charge of "aggravated breach of trust" relating to Ghosn's temporary transfer of a foreign exchange bet to Nissan's books, the Financial Times said.

A second further charge extended the period for which Ghosn is alleged to have underreported his salary to Japan's financial regulator, adding the three fiscal years through March 2018. The original charges covered the five-year period to March 2015.

The head of Ghosn's legal team in Japan, Motonari Otsuru, said Ghosn was likely to remain in prison until the time of his trial, even though the team submitted an application for bail Jan. 11, the Financial Times reported.

Ghosn has been behind bars since Nov. 19 after Nissan alerted prosecutors to suspicions that its then-chairman had underreported his income by millions of dollars for years and that he may have made personal use of company cash. The executive had his first chance to speak publicly since his arrest and subsequent removal as chairman of Nissan at a court hearing on Jan. 8, during which he denied all allegations made against him.

While analysts say some senior Nissan executives are likely to be pleased by Ghosn's departure from the Japanese automaker after nearly two decades during which his style was often at odds with Japanese corporate culture, his continued detention has complicated the running of French automaker Renault SA, where he remains CEO and chairman. Renault said Ghosn will retain the top leadership roles until it receives evidence of his alleged wrongdoing.

Ghosn was the main architect behind the cost-saving alliance through which Nissan and Renault team up on parts, procurement and manufacturing. The partnership began in 1999 when Renault acquired a 43.4% share as the Japanese automaker was on the verge of collapse. Analysts say resentment has steadily grown among Nissan executives at the disproportionate power Renault holds compared to its much larger counterpart, which has long since been restored to financial health. Nissan has no voting rights in Renault despite owning 15% of the company.