Photo/IllutrationA vehicle carrying former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn passes through the front gate of the Justice Ministry in Tokyo on April 4. (Kazuyoshi Sako)

Prosecutors defended their re-arrest of former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn on April 4, saying they found another instance in which he caused financial damage to the carmaker for personal gain.

The Special Investigation Department of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office said Ghosn caused about 563 million yen ($5 million) in financial damage by sending company funds to a Nissan dealership in Oman and having it return some of the money to himself.

Ghosn was arrested on suspicion of aggravated breach of trust in violation of the Companies Law, the department said. It was the fourth arrest for Ghosn, 65, who had been released on bail on March 6.

Ghosn and his lawyers have criticized the latest arrest as an attempt to silence him. On Twitter on April 3, Ghosn said he would “tell the truth about what’s happening” at a news conference held on April 11.

According to the Special Investigation Department’s announcement and other sources, Ghosn sent $15 million to the Oman dealership, Suhail Bahwan Automobiles (SBA), from a Nissan subsidiary called Nissan Middle East based in the United Arab Emirates from December 2015 to July 2018. He then made SBA return $5 million of that amount to himself, they said.

The funds, listed as “sales promotion costs,” came from Nissan’s “CEO Reserve,” which was directly managed by the automaker’s chief executive officer.

Ghosn has said he sent Nissan funds to the Oman dealership as an incentive and, therefore, there was nothing wrong with the move, sources said.

Suhail Bahwan, the owner of SBA, is a long-time friend of Ghosn.

According to the sources, some of the funds sent to SBA ended up at GFI, a company in Lebanon. An SBA executive from India was a large shareholder of GFI, the sources said.

From 2015 to 2018, GFI offered $27.5 million in financial assistance to a company set up by Ghosn’s son in the United States.

French carmaker Renault, an alliance partner of Nissan, also made large payments to GFI, the sources said.

Ghosn, who has denied any wrongdoing, was granted bail after being detained at the Tokyo Detention House for 108 days following his first arrest in November last year on suspicion of under-reporting his remuneration.

On the morning of March 4, prosecutors entered Ghosn’s Tokyo residence, where he was forced to stay as a bail condition, and then required him to come with them.

Ghosn was indicted in January on a different charge of aggravated breach of trust.

In that case, Ghosn allegedly transferred his personal investment contract to Nissan in October 2008 after the contract suffered an appraised loss of about 1.85 billion yen. He illegally sent funds to a Saudi Arabian businessman who had cooperated in guaranteeing his debts, according to the indictment.

After the contract suffered the appraised loss, Shinsei Bank required Ghosn to put up additional collateral. He provided about 2.2 billion yen to the bank in February 2009, a month after he personally borrowed $30 million from Bahwan, the sources said.

The Special Investigation Department is checking for any connections between the borrowed money and offer of additional collateral.