In what was his first public address since he was first arrested last year, ousted former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn, through a video message, accused some of his former colleagues of “backstabbing” him to remove him from the post of chairman of Nissan which he believes has threatened the future of the Japanese auto company.
In a very unusual measure, Ghosn was rearrested last Thursday in Tokyo after he was granted bail, on fresh allegations of misappropriating $5 million of the company’s funds. The video of Ghosn that was shown to the media and the public was recorded a day before he was rearrested. He was out on a $9 million bail for 30 days.
Ghosn said that he had been made a victim of selfish rivals bent on derailing a closer alliance between the automaker and French partner Renault, said the former Nissan chairman in the message that was shown by his lawyers in Tokyo.
“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.
Ghosn continued to plead for his innocence in the video statement.
In the video, Ghosn appeared to be clam and his voice was confident while he sat behind a desk with folded hands and looked directly and confidently at the camera.
The video essentially tried to cast Ghosn as a victim of internal rivalries of Nissan as well as of a Japanese judicial system that allegedly wants to break down Ghoisn to extract a confession. Ghosn’s lawyer Junichiro Hironaka also alleged that his client was being meted out harsh treatment by prosecutors.
The lawyers of Ghosn however edited the seven-minute clip to remove the names of the individuals that Ghosn had taken and accused them of treachery because of legal issues
Fear that he would bring Nissan closer to Renault, also its top shareholder, was the reason that the conspiracy was hatched, Ghosn said.
“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.
The current management of Nissan was targeted by Ghosn for the management having to issue three profit warnings and holding them responsible for a domestic scandal related to improper vehicle inspections ever since he had vacated as the CEO of the company in 2017.
The Ghosn said that the lack of leadership is “very sickening”.
Hironaka told reporters that prosecutors are acting in a “cruel way” with Ghosn and he was being subjected to intense physical and mental pressure so that he would confess to his alleged crime.
She was unaware of Hironaka’s comments and declined to comment, said a spokeswoman at the Tokyo prosecutors’ office.
(Adapted from TheGlobeAndMail.com)