'This is a plot; this is about backstabbing'

Daniel Fowler
April 11, 2019

Ousted Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn said he was innocent and slammed former colleagues whom he accused of backstabbing and conspiring against him, in a pre-recorded video that marked his first public address since his initial arrest past year.

The video was reportedly filmed just hours before he was re-arrested on charges of misappropriating company funds for business use, using Nissan money to buy a yacht and invest in a startup founded by his son.

"This is not about greed or dictatorship, this is about a plot, this is about a conspiracy, this is about a backstabbing", Mr. Ghosn said.

Renault owns 43 percent of Nissan.

"I can't comprehend how this could have happened, despite having auditors", said Setsuko Shibata, a retired homemaker who said her family had held Nissan shares for decades. "This is not about specific events, this is not about greed, this is not about dictatorship", Ghosn said. "The company's focus remains on addressing weaknesses in governance that failed to prevent this misconduct". He also said he disagrees with accusations that he was a greedy, dictatorial leader.

On April 4, the Brazilian-born businessman who also has French and Lebanese nationality was re-arrested by Tokyo prosecutors over new allegations of aggravated breach of trust causing Nissan a loss of around 5 million US dollars.

In fact, he was also the architect of the Renault-Nissan alliance and responsible to bring Mitsubishi on board in 2016.

He said his team will appeal to Japan's Supreme Court on Wednesday.

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The 65-year-old, who after his first arrest spent 108 days at the Tokyo Detention House, has denied all charges, with his lawyer Junichiro Hironaka slamming Japan's judicial system as being akin to "hostage justice".

Prosecutors say the allegations that were the basis of his recent arrest are distinct from the others, while giving no details.

Ghosn's case has defied expectations from the start, with his shock November 19 arrest after he landed in Tokyo on a private jet.

The lawyer said on Tuesday that Ghosn's wife, who left Japan last week, did so out of concern for her own safety, adding she meant to protest the case to the French government.

She also said that her husband had not acted alone and that others at the company knew.

A lawyer for his family, Francois Zimeray, told France Info public radio Monday that Ghosn's lawyers had written to the Tokyo prosecutor's office to ask them "to stop torturing Carlos Ghosn".

Mr. Hironaka has previously criticized the move by prosecutors to confiscate Mr. Ghosn's belongings, including his mobile phone and trial documents, along with the mobile phones and Lebanese passport of his wife, who was present when prosecutors entered their home early in the morning last Thursday.

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