TOKYO — Carlos Ghosn was just beginning to settle in to his newfound freedom.
The embattled auto legend — out on bail after 108 days in jail — was strolling Tokyo's picturesque Japanese gardens.
And then came the whiplash. Last week, Ghosn was back in the Tokyo detention center where he was initially locked away after his stunning Nov. 19 arrest.
As Ghosn faces new charges of diverting Nissan money for personal use, fresh doubts are emerging about whether the executive can get a fair trial in Japan.
Shortly after being taken into custody, Ghosn issued a statement condemning his arrest as "outrageous and arbitrary" and vowing he would "not be broken." And hours before Tokyo investigators swept through his residence at 5:50 a.m., Ghosn told French media he likely faced imminent arrest, while reasserting his innocence.
During their raid, prosecutors vacuumed up all manner of evidence used in Ghosn's preparation for trial — notebooks, phones and other materials — his lawyer Junichiro Hironaka said. They confiscated the passport and cellphone of Ghosn's wife, Carole, who was with him at the time.
"We cannot deny the possibility that the rearrest was done for the purpose of taking these materials," he said. "As a civilized country, this is something that must not be accepted."
Some legal observers in Japan said the rearrest gave prosecutors extra leverage.
"The rearrest is intended to psychologically pressure Ghosn into confession," said Nobuo Gohara, a former Tokyo prosecutor now in private practice.
Last week, Hironaka also took issue with the idea of putting Nissan and Ghosn on the stand together as co-defendants. Ghosn and the corporate entity are accused in two indictments of falsifying financial filings by failing to disclose $80 million in deferred compensation.
Nissan is likely to cooperate with prosecutors. To bring Ghosn and Nissan before the same judge in the same court pits the defendants against each other, Hironaka said at a press conference. "It goes against the very spirit of a having a fair trial."