An American lawyer who lives in Tokyo says the latest charge against former Nissan Motor chairman Carlos Ghosn is very serious if it is true.
Stephen Givens, who is also a professor at Tokyo's Sophia University, was speaking to NHK in Japanese.
Givens says Ghosn's first two cases of financial misconduct represented rather technical violations. Ghosn was accused of understating his compensation, and getting Nissan to temporarily shoulder his liabilities on currency swap deals.
But the lawyer says Ghosn's latest indictment for aggravated breach of trust is more serious. Ghosn is accused of having part of Nissan's payments to an Omani dealership funneled back to a shell firm he controls.
Givens says Ghosn and his wife are insisting he is innocent, but that their claims are too abstract. The lawyer also says public opinion of Ghosn has changed, and is unlikely to improve if the alleged wrongdoing is true.
The lawyer questions the way Nissan executives used a plea bargaining deal with prosecutors.
He says US prosecutors usually employ plea bargaining to use a person less seriously involved in a case to catch and charge a key figure. But he says the Nissan management provided prosecutors with related materials for its own defense, adding that this is quite contrary to ordinary patterns.
The American lawyer says people should take note of how Japanese prosecutors use the plea bargaining system going forward.