Former Nissan chairman Ghosn claims conspiracy led to his arrest
The Japanese car giant has accused Ghosn of financial misconduct.
Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn has accused executives at the Japanese car giant of a “conspiracy” that led to his arrest on financial misconduct allegations.
Ghosn spoke calmly as he maintained his innocence in a 10-minute video released by his legal team at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Tokyo on Tuesday.
His lawyer Junichiro Hironaka said the video was prepared in case Ghosn was not able to speak at a news conference. He was arrested last week while on bail.
Ghosn said the executives behind the conspiracy were motivated by what he called “selfish fears”, and had mistaken his leadership for greed and dictatorship.
Nissan has said Ghosn initiated financial misconduct it later uncovered and used the company’s money for personal gain.
Ghosn said in the video: “The first message is that I’m innocent.
“This is a conspiracy. This is not about specific events, this is not about, again, greed, this is not about dictatorship. This is about a plot. This is about conspiracy. This is about backstabbing.”
Ghosn said the executives behind the conspiracy were concerned about what they saw as a merger with French alliance partner Renault SA. Ghosn said he had been the biggest defender of Nissan’s autonomy.
He also said he was worried about Nissan, wondering whether those executives involved were really watching out for the company.
Mr Hironaka said a section of the video in which Ghosn named names was removed on his advice.
Nissan, while declining to comment on the criminal case, has said an internal investigation found that Ghosn falsified financial documents to under-report compensation, and that he used Nissan money for personal gain.
Ghosn’s fourth arrest was on a fresh breach of trust allegation based on suspicions that payments from a Nissan subsidiary to an Oman dealership were diverted to a company effectively run by Ghosn.
On Monday, Nissan shareholders voted to oust Ghosn from the board and to approve the appointment of French alliance partner Renault SA’s chairman Jean-Dominique Senard as his replacement.
Renault owns 43% of Nissan. Yokohama-based Nissan, which makes the Leaf electric car, the March subcompact and Infiniti luxury models, was on the brink of bankruptcy when Renault sent Ghosn in to turn it around two decades ago.
Ghosn stressed he had devoted 20 years to Nissan, and is worried about its future.
“I love Japan and I love Nissan,” he said in his video, adding the company had achieved much under his leadership.
He appeared to be saying he was the best leader for Nissan, while those behind the alleged conspiracy were failing.
“It’s sad. For someone like me, it’s sickening,” he said.
Mr Hironaka said he will appeal Ghosn’s latest detention and would appeal to the supreme court about his new arrest. Multiple arrests and prolonged detentions are routine in Japan’s criminal justice system, but an arrest after someone is released on bail is unusual.
Prosecutors say the latest allegation is different, and there is a risk Ghosn may tamper with evidence. His defence team says the allegations are related, and authorities have already seized all the documents.
Ghosn’s detention following his latest arrest could be extended beyond Sunday.
“Nissan’s internal investigation has uncovered substantial evidence of blatantly unethical conduct,” said company spokesman Nicholas Maxfield, when asked for comment on Ghosn’s video.
“The company’s focus remains on addressing weaknesses in governance that enabled this misconduct.”
No date has been set for Ghosn’s trial as yet.