Nissan Motor's ousted Chairman Carlos Ghosn declared his innocence in his first public appearance since his arrest in November, telling a Tokyo court on Tuesday that he was wrongly accused of financial misconduct.
"I have been wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated accusations," Ghosn told the Tokyo District Court. He spoke clearly, though he looked thinner with sunken cheeks and his dark hair showing grey roots.
"Contrary to the accusations made by the prosecutors, I never received any compensation from Nissan that was not disclosed, nor did I ever enter into any binding contract with Nissan to be paid a fixed amount that was not disclosed," Ghosn said.
Journalists and television crews thronged outside the court as Ghosn — credited with rescuing Nissan from near-bankruptcy two decades ago — entered in handcuffs and a rope around his waist, led in by two guards.
The hearing received top billing on TV news updates throughout the day and some 1,122 people had lined up for 14 court seats assigned by lottery, highlighting the interest in the case of the once-feted executive.