French ministers on Tuesday welcomed the news that former auto industry tycoon Carlos Ghosn has been granted bail in Japan, saying this should help him better prepare for trial.
Ghosn, the former chairman of the Renault-Nissan alliance, was granted bail by a Tokyo court on Tuesday, though prosecutors said they were appealing the decision.
The 64-year-old has been held in jail since his shock arrest in Japan on November 19 over suspicions of financial misconduct.
“What is important is that Carlos Ghosn can have a fair trial and, if being free helps with that, it’s a good thing,” Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet told CNews television, adding she did not wish to comment further on the legal process.
Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said that what mattered to him was to see the Renault-Nissan alliance strengthened.
“Of course, the fact that he might be freed, that he might be able to better defend himself can only be welcomed from a human point of view,” he told Radio Classique.
The French state holds nearly 15 percent of Renault shares and 22 percent of its voting rights.
Renault boss Thierry Bollore, who was appointed to replace his former mentor, said he was “delighted” by the news when asked by AFP for his reaction at the Geneva Motor Show.
He declined to comment further “given the present context”.
Bail for Ghosn was set at one billion yen ($9 million), and his lead lawyer acknowledged it would take time to raise the money.
Under his bail terms, Ghosn is banned from leaving Japan and must adhere to conditions aimed at preventing him from fleeing or destroying evidence.
The former head of Nissan, Mitsubishi Motors and Renault faces three charges — two involving alleged under-reporting of his salary and a third over a complex scheme in which Ghosn allegedly sought to transfer his losses to Nissan’s books.
Further claims of financial misconduct have been levelled against him and prosecutors may yet slap him with additional charges to keep him in detention.
Born in Brazil to Lebanese parents, Ghosn holds French nationality and was one of the highest-earning CEOs in France.