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Saturday December 14th, 2019 10:15AM

The Latest: Ghosn release allows 'free and serene' defense

By The Associated Press
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TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on the release of former Nissan Motor Co. chairman Carlos Ghosn from the Tokyo Detention Center after he posted 1 billion yen ($8.9 million) bail (all times local):

6:30 p.m.

France's finance minister says they decision to free Carlos Ghosn on bail will allow him to defend himself "freely and serenely."

At a news conference Wednesday, Bruno Le Maire said the former head of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Motors alliance was entitled to the presumption of innocence. The auto executive is fighting breach of trust and other charges in Japan.

The French government owns about 15 percent of Renault SA, making it an influential voice in the future of the alliance. Le Maire said the "solidity" of that future was of tremendous importance.

___

6:20 p.m.

Japan's Nippon Television Network has shown brief footage of Nissan Motor's former chairman Carlos Ghosn after his release on bail from the Tokyo Detention Center.

Ghosn could be clearly seen smiling after he got out of a van that carried him through the city and took off a surgical mask and cap he wore, apparently as a disguise, while leaving the facility Wednesday.

It was unclear where Ghosn left the van or where he would be staying after his release. He faces strict conditions for gaining release on bail, including camera surveillance and a promise not to use the internet.

___

5:40 p.m.

A small van believed to be carrying Carlos Ghosn is making its way through the streets of Tokyo following the Nissan Motor chairman's release on bail.

A man who strongly resembled Ghosn was seen leaving in the silver van from the Tokyo Detention Center after he posted 1 billion yen ($8.9 million) bail. He was surrounded by security guards and was wearing a surgical mask, glasses, a hat and a construction worker's outfit.

The van had a ladder on top and was followed by ten motorcycles riding in formation. While the van, motorcycles and possibly other vehicles appeared to be traveling in a convoy, there was no obvious police presence and the vehicles stopped for traffic lights.

Aerial footage of the convoy was aired live by Japanese broadcasters.

___

5 p.m.

Associated Press journalists have seen a man believed to be former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn leave the Tokyo Detention Center.

Ghosn was released Wednesday after putting up 1 billion yen ($8.9 million) in bail.

Surrounded by uniformed guards and wearing a face mask, hat, glasses and the clothing of a construction worker, he climbed into a white van and left the facility without making any comments.

He was arrested in November and is charged with falsifying financial reports and breach of trust.

___

10:35 a.m.

Former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn may leave detention as early as Wednesday, after a Tokyo court approved his release on 1 billion yen ($8.9 million) bail, rejecting an appeal by prosecutors.

He said in a statement, "I am innocent and totally committed to vigorously defending myself in a fair trial against these meritless and unsubstantiated accusations."

Ghosn's lawyer in Japan, Junichiro Hironaka, said the legal team offered conditions for his release, such as a surveillance camera at the doorway and a promise not to use the internet.

The former head of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Motors alliance has been detained since November and is charged with falsifying financial reports and breach of trust.

Jean-Yves Le Borgne, Ghosn's French lawyer, cautioned that prosecutors still had leeway to file new charges.

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