Ousted Nissan Motor boss Carlos Ghosn said he was innocent of all the charges against him and was the victim of a conspiracy, according to a video recorded before his arrest last week and broadcast by his lawyers on Tuesday.
Prosecutors took the highly unusual step of re-arresting Ghosn last week on fresh allegations that he used company funds to enrich himself to the tune of $5 million. The once-feted executive had been out on $9 million bail for 30 days, during which he recorded the video screened by his lawyers on Tuesday.
In the video, shown to reporters in Tokyo, the former Nissan Motor Co chairman said he was the victim of selfish rivals bent on derailing a closer alliance between the Japanese automaker and French partner Renault SA.
Ghosn called out some individuals by name in the video but those references were removed due to legal concerns, his lead lawyer Junichiro Hironaka told reporters.
The video - together with Hironaka's comments alleging harsh treatment by Tokyo prosecutors against Ghosn and his wife, Carole - cast Ghosn as the victim of both internal rivals and the Japanese judicial system.
"This is a conspiracy ... this is not about greed or dictatorship, this is about a plot, this about a conspiracy, this is about a backstabbing," Ghosn said in the video.
He was wearing a dark jacket and a white shirt. His hands were folded in front of him as he looked into the camera and spoke in a clipped, matter-of-fact manner. His hair appeared to be greyer and his face thinner than before last year's arrest.
The conspiracy, he said, was borne out of fear that he would bring Nissan closer to its partner and top shareholder, Renault.
"There was fear that the next step of the alliance in terms of convergence and in terms of moving towards a merger, would in a certain way threaten some people or eventually threaten the autonomy of Nissan," he said.