TOKYO – Former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn, the star auto executive credited with rescuing both Renault and Nissan, left a drab Tokyo detention center Wednesday after more than three months in custody, his identity obscured by a surgical mask, hat and construction worker’s outfit.
The billionaire businessman wore a surgical face mask, workman’s uniform and blue cap as he left the Tokyo Detention House, initially unrecognized by many of the world’s media camped outside waiting for him.
He had been in custody since 19 November after being arrested on charges he has described as “meritless”.
Ghosn was a titan of the global car industry, leading Japan’s Nissan and Mitsubishi as well as France’s Renault in a global alliance, but now faces claims that he under-reported his pay packet at Nissan for nearly a decade.
Tokyo District Court said he had now paid 1 billion yen (£6.8m) in bail after it rejected a last-ditch appeal by prosecutors to keep him behind bars.
Ghosn’s release on Wednesday comes ahead of his 65th birthday on Saturday, but there are strict conditions attached.
He has given assurances that he will remain in Tokyo, surrender his passport to his lawyer and submit to extensive surveillance.
Ghosn has agreed to set up cameras at the entrances to his home and is banned from using the internet or sending and receiving text messages, as well as from communicating with other parties involved in his case.
He is permitted computer access only at his lawyer’s office.
The bail decision comes after Ghosn hired a new lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka – nicknamed “the Razor” for his success in winning acquittals in several high-profile cases.
Mr Hironaka has already said that the charges should have been dealt with as an internal company matter and that Japan was out of step with international norms by keeping his client in custody.
Ghosn said in a statement on Tuesday: “I am innocent and totally committed to vigorously defending myself in a fair trial against these meritless and unsubstantiated accusations.”