(Newser) – Just a few months ago, Carlos Ghosn was one of the most powerful executives in the auto industry. On Tuesday, however, he appeared in a Tokyo courtroom wearing plastic prison slippers and a rope around his waist instead of a belt, reports the BBC. Ghosn, the 64-year-old former Nissan chairman, also looked noticeably thinner since his November arrest on charges that he under-reported his income. Ghosn, though, was defiant. In fact, the Wall Street Journal reports, his legal team demanded Tuesday’s hearing be held so he could formally hear the charges against him. “I have been wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated allegations,” Ghosn told the court.
Prosecutors say Ghosn manipulated financial reports for years, even getting Nissan to absorb personal investment losses, and under-reported his income by $44 million over five years ending in 2015, per the AP. A key charge is that he deferred large chunks of his pay and then didn’t report it. In a statement, Ghosn rebutted the allegations one by one and said all of his accounting practices were above board. Ghosn has been in custody since his arrest, and the judge in the case said Tuesday that he will remain behind bars because he could tamper with evidence or flee the country if released. Ghosn’s trial isn’t expected to start for another six months. (Nissan quickly ousted him after the arrest.)