In his first public statement since his initial arrest in November, former Renault-Nissan Alliance chief Carlos Ghosn tersely and forcefully accused “backstabbing” former colleagues of conspiring to get him fired from his job as Nissan chairman and threatening the Japanese automaker’s future.
Ghosn, clad in a black suit and white shirt, levied the charges in a video made shown to reporters in Tokyo Monday after he was re-arrested last week on new allegations that he used $5 million in company funds for his own benefit.
The former executive had been out on $9 million bail for 30 days, and recorded the video the day before he went back to jail. Nissan Motor Co. chairman also said in the video that rivals focused on derailing a closer alliance between the automaker and French partner Renault were to blame for his current problems.
“This is not about greed or dictatorship, this is about a plot, this is about a conspiracy, this is about a backstabbing,” Ghosn said. “I am innocent of all the charges that have been brought against me,” he said, without explaining further.
(Former Nissan boss Ghosn expected to be in jail for at least 10 days. Click Here for the story.)
The seven-minute video was edited by his legal team to remove the names of people Ghosn accused of treachery due to legal concerns. Ghosn said fears that he would bring Nissan closer to Renault sowed the seeds of treachery.
“There was fear that the next step of the alliance in terms of convergence and in terms of moving toward a merger, would in a certain way threaten some people or eventually threaten the autonomy of Nissan,” he said.
Ghosn also said Nissan’s current management is to blame for three profit warnings and a domestic scandal involving improper vehicle inspections since his departure as CEO in 2017, noting the performance of the current leadership is “very sickening.”
(Click Here to see how “plot and treason” brought Ghosn down, jailed exec says.)
Despite numerous charges by prosecutors, Ghosn maintained his innocence in the video, claiming that he is a victim of an unfair Japanese judicial system. His lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka, has alleged harsh treatment by prosecutors against Ghosn and his wife Carole, trying to force a confession from the former executive.
Hironaka has made similar accusations in the past about prosecutors, including criticizing them for confiscating Ghosn’s belongings, including his mobile phone and trial documents. They also took the mobile phones and Lebanese passport of Ghosn’s wife, Carole, who was present when prosecutors entered their home early in the morning last Thursday.
The lawyer said on Tuesday that Ghosn’s wife, who left Japan last week, did so out of concern for her own safety, adding she intended to ask the French government to help her husband.
(For our coverage of Ghosn’s first court appearance, Click Here.)
A spokeswoman at the Tokyo prosecutors’ office said she was unaware of Hironaka’s comments and declined to comment, Reuters reported. Ghosn is supposed to be eligible for release on April 14, but if recent history is any indication, expect that date to be pushed back.