April 10, 2019 / 3:11 PM / a month ago

Wife of ousted Nissan boss Ghosn returns to Japan to testify

TOKYO/PARIS (Reuters) - The wife of ousted Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn returned to Japan on Wednesday and intends to testify to Tokyo prosecutors, a source close to her entourage said, days after she left the country to seek help from the French government.

FILE PHOTO: Former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn accompanied by his wife Carole Ghosn, arrives at his place of residence in Tokyo, Japan, March 8, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

The source, who was speaking on condition of anonymity, said Carole Ghosn would be questioned by authorities as soon as Thursday, confirming a report by the Nikkei newspaper earlier on Wednesday.

Prosecutors last week arrested the former Nissan chairman for the fourth time on suspicion he tried to enrich himself at the cost of $5 million to the automaker.

Authorities had also wanted to question his wife on suspicion that Ghosn had siphoned off payments through a company where his wife is an executive to purchase a yacht and a boat, public broadcaster NHK has reported.

Ghosn has said he is innocent of all the charges against him and said he is the victim of a boardroom coup.

His wife left Japan last week after Ghosn’s arrest, telling the Financial Times she was going to seek help for her spouse, a French citizen. Paris has said it was monitoring the situation.

Prosecutors had earlier seized her Lebanese passport but overlooked her U.S. one, allowing her to leave Japan, the Financial Times said.

The Nikkei reported on Wednesday that she had arrived back in Japan at Tokyo’s Haneda airport, with the intention of testifying to prosecutors on Thursday, citing sources. The newspaper quoted her as saying she wanted to tell a court that there was “absolutely nothing illegal”.

A spokesman for Ghosn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

NHK said last week that prosecutors asked her to meet them for voluntary questioning as an unsworn witness, but the request was turned down, which prompted them to ask judges to question her on their behalf.

Such a request gives judges the power to question on a mandatory basis witnesses who refuse to testify, according to NHK.

Reporting by David Dolan in Tokyo; Emmanuel Jarry, Matthias Blamont in Paris; Editing by Keith Weir and Susan Fenton

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