Ex-Nissan Boss Carlos Ghosn Says He's a Victim of 'Treason'

02 February, 2019, 09:29 | Author: Mary Valdez
  • Carlos Ghosn

In an interview with Nikkei Asian Review-his first since his November 19 arrest-Ghosn said he is certain the financial misconduct charges against him are the result of "plot and treason" by Nissan execs opposed to his plan for closer integration with alliance partners Renault and Mitsubishi Motors.

Following Ghosn's arrest, France also informed Tokyo of an intention to press ahead with integration. Similarly, other automakers in the competition are also trying their best to boost their sales volume while keeping low costs.

The three companies which form the alliance are expected to revisit how it is operated in the absence of Ghosn's leadership.

Stating these properties were known to everybody and signed off by Nissan's legal department, Ghosn questioned why no-one told him if these purchases were illegal.

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.

One Nissan official said earlier, "The primary objective is to build a personal relationship between the top leaders", and the capital structure of the alliance would not be discussed.

A spokesman for Renault declined to comment on the interview. It was indicted in Japan for misreporting Ghosn's pay, and it also faces an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Ghosn pointed the finger back at Nissan in the interview, saying he did not know whether he did something improper as he is not a lawyer and does not "know the interpretation of (such) facts", asking "Why didn't they tell me?"

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Nissan said it's cooperating fully with the inquiry.

Ghosn said he still hopes to explain his situation to the Renault board.

Ghosn used words like "trap", "treason", and "plot" to describe how he came to be arrested in November as he landed in Tokyo for what he thought were routine meetings at Nissan.

The French government owns about 15 per cent of Renault, which in turn controls 43.4 per cent of Nissan. The automakers hired the French auditor Mazars to investigate possible wrongdoing within their alliance, people with knowledge of the matter said this week.

The executive, once feted for his turnaround of the struggling Nissan, has been removed as chairman of the Japanese firm as well as of Mitsubishi Motors. While Renault named Michelin CEO Jean-Dominique Senard as its chairman last week, Nissan has yet to name a replacement for Ghosn. In the interview, Ghosn said he isn't a flight risk, and he intends to defend himself against the charges.

Asked about his life in the detention center, he said "there is up and down" and that he is "doing fine" in terms of health. Renault holds more than 40% of Nissan.

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