Ghosn Says Arrest was Result of 'Plot and Treason'

Ghosn Says Arrest was Result of 'Plot and Treason'

Carlos Ghosn, the ousted leader of Japanese automaker Nissan, said his removal was a result of "plot and treason" by colleagues at the company who objected to a closer tie-up with Mitsubishi and France's Renault under a new holding company.

Ghosn also called accusations by both Nissan and Mitsubishi that he received almost 8 million euros in improper payment through a Dutch-based joint venture of the two automakers "a distortion of reality", and argued his luxury residences in Rio de Janeiro and Beirut were approved by Nissan's legal department. He has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and reiterated those denials in the interview with Nikkei.

Ghosn responded to some of the specific charges laid against him. "I won't flee, I will defend [myself]", Ghosn said. Ghosn has also been indicted on charges of breach of trust for his financial involvement with a Saudi businessman.

Mr Ghosn said he had "no doubt" that the charges against him were motivated by Nissan executives.

Mr Ghosn said some Nissan executives wanted to stop his plan to integrate Renault, the French auto firm he headed, with its Japanese alliance partners, Nissan and Mitsubishi. Renault owns 43.4% of Nissan, despite the latter contributing more profits.

The prolonged detention of Mr Ghosn has cast light on Japan's judicial system, which allows the indefinite detention of individuals.

Another accusation against him revolves around some $9 million allegedly paid to him from a joint venture based in The Netherlands but Ghosn rejected this, saying the claims of improper payments were "a distortion of reality".

In a response issued minutes after the interview's publication, a Nissan spokesman said Saikawa previously refuted the notion of a coup.

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As well as the allegations which prompted his arrest, Nissan's investigation "uncovered substantial and convincing evidence of misconduct, resulting in a unanimous board vote to dismiss Ghosn and Kelly", he added.

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. Ghosn has said he is innocent.

Luxury properties in Rio de Janeiro and Beirut, which were held up as misuse of company funds, were approved by the legal department for business purposes, he claimed.

He justified these residences on the grounds that he "needed a safe place where (he) can work and receive people in both Brazil and Lebanon".

It is unclear what the long-term prospect of the alliance will be if Ghosn is no longer at the helm.

Ghosn has been in custody since his November 19 arrest in Tokyo.

Asked about his conditions in the detention centre, Ghosn replied that the situation was "up and down" but said his health was "fine".

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