Court extends new detention for Nissan ex-chair Ghosn

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A Japanese court on Friday approved the detention of former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn through April 14 after his latest arrest over financial misconduct allegations, a move that has raised questions among legal experts.

The former star executive was taken into custody Thursday over new allegations that $5 million sent by a Nissan Motor Co. subsidiary and meant for an Oman dealership was diverted to a company effectively controlled by Ghosn.

Ghosn spent nearly four months in detention and was just released last month after meeting stringent bail conditions while he awaits trial over earlier allegations that he understated his compensation in financial documents, had Nissan shoulder his personal investment losses and made dubious payments to a Saudi businessman.

The Tokyo District Court on Friday approved the initial 10-day detention request from prosecutors, who can seek another 10-day extension before needing to file charges against Ghosn, release him or accuse him of new misconduct that needs investigating.

Stringing out a suspect’s arrest for the full 20 days and then raising new accusations is common in Japan, where it is known as a “rearrest.” Critics say it allows suspects to be grilled by the authorities, resulting in some signing confessions to crimes they never committed.

But it is rare for a suspect to receive bail and then be taken back into custody.

Ghosn’s legal team an appeal with the court Friday, arguing against the detention. The court later rejected that.

Ghosn, 65, was first arrested Nov. 19 and released March 6 on 1 billion yen ($8.9 million) bail, after two previous rearrests. He says he is innocent of all allegations.

Prosecutors argue the latest accusations are different from the previous ones, but his legal team says they are part of the same scenario of wrongdoing.

In demanding the latest detention, prosecutors argued Ghosn may tamper with evidence related to the new allegations. Prosecutors had earlier fought against bail for Ghosn, a citizen of France, Brazil and Lebanon, arguing he was a flight risk.

Ghosn’s lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka, pointed out that prosecutors have already raided Ghosn’s property and taken everything, leaving little to tamper with. He accused prosecutors of trying to silence Ghosn, who had tweeted he was planning a news conference next week to tell “the truth about what was happening.”

Stephen Givens, an American who practices law in Japan, said the latest accusations are more serious than the previous charges because they imply Ghosn pocketed the money, while the earlier charges were technical offenses that didn’t harm Nissan or lead to personal gain.

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USCIS Adjusting Premium Processing Fee

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today it is adjusting the premium processing fee for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers beginning on Oct. 1, 2018 to more effectively adjudicate petitions and maintain effective service to petitioners.

The premium processing fee will increase to $1,410, a 14.92 percent increase (after rounding) from the current fee of $1,225. This increase, which is done in accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act, represents the percentage change in inflation since the fee was last increased in 2010 based on the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers.

“Because premium processing fees have not been adjusted since 2010, our ability to improve the adjudications and service processes for all petitioners has been hindered as we’ve experienced significantly higher demand for immigration benefits. Ultimately, adjusting the premium processing fee will allow us to continue making necessary investments in staff and technology to administer various immigration benefit requests more effectively and efficiently,” said Chief Financial Officer Joseph Moore. “USCIS will continue adjudicating all petitions on a case-by-case basis to determine if they meet all standards required under applicable law, policies, and regulations.”

Premium processing is an optional service that is currently authorized for certain petitioners filing Forms I-129 or I-140. The system allows petitioners to request 15-day processing of certain employment-based immigration benefit requests if they pay an extra fee. The premium processing fee is paid in addition to the base filing fee and any other applicable fees, which cannot be waived.