Carlos Ghosn claims 'plot and treason' led to arrest

Key Points
  • Former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn has claimed charges against him were a result of his drive to further integrate Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubushi.
  • Ghosn has been charged with aggravated breach of trust for temporarily transferring personal investment losses to Nissan in 2008, and for understating his compensation for three years, from 2015 to 2017, showed a statement from his lawyer, Motonari Otsuru.
  • He was detained on November 19, 2018.
A court sketch, drawn by Nobutoshi Katsuyama, shows ousted Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn during a January open hearing to hear the reason for his continued detention, at Tokyo District Court in Tokyo, Japan.
Kyodo | Reuters

Speaking from his Tokyo prison, the former Chairman of Renault-Nissan Carlos Ghosn told Japanese media that "plot and treason" by Nissan management led to his arrest. 

In his first interview since being jailed, Ghosn told the Nikkei Asian Review on Wednesday that his plan to further integrate the automakers Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi had triggered his downfall.

Ghosn said closer integration had been discussed with Nissan President Hiroto Saikawa in September but Saikawa had excluded Mitsubishi's CEO from the talks.

The tycoon reportedly said he had "no doubt" the legal charges against him were a result of "plot and treason" by Nissan management who opposed the strategy.

According to Ghosn, people who wanted to remove him from his role had also created a false image that his reign was a dictatorship.

"People translated strong leadership to dictator, to distort reality," Ghosn said.

Nissan confirms SEC inquiry into company payment practices
Nissan confirms SEC inquiry into company payment practices

Ghosn, along with former Nissan Director Greg Kelly, have now spent more than 70 days in jail.

Japanese prosecutors claimed the pair failed to declare around $43 million in deferred compensation between the years of 2010 and 2015. Ghosn is also accused of transferring personal trading losses to the company books.

Nissan has also separately accused Ghosn of receiving improper payments as well as using a third-party to purchase luxury properties in Rio de Janeiro and Beirut. The Brazilian-born businessman denies all the charges.

When asked about his health, the 64-year-old said he was "doing fine" and that life in the detention center was "up and down."

On suggestions that he is being kept in prison as he is considered a flight risk, Ghosn responded: "I won't flee, I will defend (myself)."

French auto firm Renault holds a 43 percent stake in Nissan, while Nissan holds 15 percent of Renaults stock and a 34 percent stake in Mitsubushi Motors.

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