Japan’s Nikkei: Carlos Ghosn says arrest due to plot within

31 January, 2019, 17:43 | Author: Billie Castillo
  • Carlos Ghosn

The embattled former chairman of Nissan has claimed his arrest over almost £60m of alleged fraud was the result of a "plot and treason" against him by executives at the company.

Japanese authorities originally arrested Mr Ghosn on charges of under-reporting his income by £34ms and using £13m in company money to cover personal losses, though more charges have since been added.

"In an interview with Les Echos business newspaper and Agence France-Presse published on Thursday, Ghosn also called the charges and accusations a 'distortion of reality meant to destroy his reputation".

Mr Ghosn, who led Nissan for 19 years and rescued the company from bankruptcy before entering it into a three-way alliance with Renault and Mitsubishi, was dismissed from his position as chairman by Nissan in December following allegations of financial misconduct and underreporting his compensation - crimes that carry jail sentences of a decade or more in Japan.

Mr Ghosn made the remarks in an interview with Japan's Nikkei newspaper, his first interview since being detained by Japanese authorities on November 19 a year ago. Earlier this month, he resigned as chairman and CEO of Renault and was replaced by Jean-Donimique Senard, the former chairman of Michelin.

Ghosn's lawyers have failed to get bail due to the court's concerns he would be a flight risk and also possibly try to hide or destroy evidence. In the interview, he said he has "no doubt" the charges against him - which Nissan says result from a whistleblower operation - were due to "plot and treason" by Nissan executives opposed to plans he was developing to further integrate Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi. In a response issued minutes after the interview's publication, a Nissan spokesman said Saikawa previously refuted the notion of a coup. "I will defend (myself)", according to the Nikkei. Ghosn, who was interviewed in the Tokyo Detention Center, said his plan involved "autonomy under one holding company" after the automakers were integrated.

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He has been refused bail twice and deemed a flight risk, despite promising to pay for a private flat, security guards, an ankle bracelet and to surrender his passports so that he can be released during the investigation.

After his arrest he was quickly sacked as chairman of Nissan and Mitsubishi, though he was initially kept on as chairman and chief executive of Renault.

Nissan owns 34 percent of smaller Japanese rival Mitsubishi Motors Corp., which sold 1.2 million vehicles past year.

He justified these residences on the grounds that he "needed a safe place where (he) can work and receive people in both Brazil and Lebanon".

"All the evidence is with Nissan and Nissan forbids all employees to talk to me", he added. The homes were no secret and if they had been a problem, he should have been consulted, Ghosn said.

Asked about his conditions in the detention centre, Ghosn replied that the situation was "up and down" but said his health was "fine".



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