Ghosn not looking worried, asks for ‘thrillers’ to read

Tokyo – Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn, arrested in Japan on suspicion of underreporting his income, is holding up well while in detention and asked for thriller books, according to the Brazilian consul general, one of the few allowed to visit.

"My impression is that he is a strong man in the sense that he will fight this out properly. He doesn’t look worried," Joao de Mendonca Lima Neto told The Associated Press on Wednesday at the consulate general of Brazil in Tokyo. "I admire him for his fortitude."

Mendonca declined comment on the specifics of the allegations, saying his job was about helping Brazilian citizens with their problems.

Ghosn, who headed the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, was arrested last month on suspicion he underreported his income by $44 million over five years.

Ghosn holds French, Lebanese and Brazilian citizenship. Representatives of those nations, as well as attorneys, can visit suspects in detention in Japan.

"Given his position, he has been an icon not only here but all over the world," Mendonca said, noting Brazilians were proud of Ghosn.

"We also have a position of wait and see. What you read in the press is not what he is saying. We are just waiting for the result, and hopefully the best result," he said.

He has relayed Ghosn’s verbal messages to his family in Brazil through a sister, and has relayed the family’s messages back, Mendonca said, while declining to disclose details.

Ghosn and he talk in Portuguese, although separated by a glass barrier, standard for Japanese detention, and Ghosn appeared to like talking in Portuguese, he added.

Consul officials have visited Ghosn four times in the last two weeks, he said, bringing history and philosophy books and fruit. But Ghosn asked for thriller books for his enjoyment, which Mendonca said he would bring on the next visit. He had not yet decided which ones.

Although Japanese detention cells are not heated, Mendonca quoted Ghosn as telling him he was warm. He was wearing a blue zipped-up top, he recalled.

"Dr Ghosn has always said that he is well and he is well treated, given the circumstances," he said. "He answers normally, ‘I’m fine.’"

AP

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