Japan prosecutors set April date for Ghosn hearings: report

Former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn denies all the charges (AFP Photo/Kazuhiro NOGI)

Prosecutors in Japan will begin hearings into the case of former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn in April of next year, Kyodo News reported on Friday.

"The Tokyo District Court is expected to hold several dozens of hearings on Ghosn next year, convening up to three times a week" from April 21, Kyodo said, citing "a source familiar with the matter."

"The hearings would involve the questioning of Ghosn as well as current and former Nissan officials," the news agency reported, adding that pretrial proceedings addressing "key issues of dispute" between prosecutors, Ghosn's lawyers and the judge will continue until March.

Ghosn, who was arrested in November 2018, is awaiting trial on charges of under-reporting millions of dollars in salary and of using company funds for personal expenses.

He has denied any wrongdoing and accuses Nissan executives opposed to his plans to further integrate the firm with France's Renault of plotting against him.

The Ghosn scandal has proved disastrous for Nissan, which in July announced that net profit plunged nearly 95 percent in the April-June quarter, and confirmed it would cut 12,500 jobs worldwide.

The Japanese firm has also struggled to steady its relationship with Renault as part of a tripartite alliance with Mitsubishi Motors that Ghosn founded and once led.

Earlier this month, Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa stepped down after an internal audit launched in the wake of the Ghosn scandal found he benefitted inappropriately from a bonus scheme.

The firm's current chief operating officer Yasuhiro Yamauchi will serve as interim CEO while Nissan searches for a permanent replacement. They hope to name someone by the end of October.