Ex-Nissan Motor Co. chief Ghosn maintains innocence, claims "conspiracy" in video message

Source: Xinhua| 2019-04-09 17:27:31|Editor: Li Xia
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TOKYO, April 9 (Xinhua) -- Former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn said in a video message released Tuesday by his lawyers that he is innocent of all charges of financial misconduct facing him and has been the victim of a conspiratorial plot.

"...I'm innocent. It's not new, you have heard it from me in January, and I repeat it today," said Ghosn, who was served his fourth arrest warrant last week for alleged aggravated breach of trust connected with Nissan funds being paid to a dealer in Oman.

"I'm innocent of all the charges that have been brought against me, and I'm also innocent of all the accusations that came around these charges that are all biased, taken out of context, twisted in a way to paint a personage of greed, and a personage of dictatorship," Ghosn added.

The ex-auto tycoon who, after his first arrest on Nov. 19 on charges of under-reporting his remuneration for years in Nissan's securities reports, went on to spent 108 days in detention, talked of his love of Japan and of Nissan, and about the automaker's accomplishments since he was sent to Japan in 1999.

He initially served as the automaker's chief executive officer following the Japanese automaker's capital alliance made with Renault and as Nissan president from 2000 and its chief executive officer from 2001 to 2017.

"We've done many things in Nissan that I'm proud of. We have also contributed to the economy of Japan, to the development of the management in Japan," the 65-year old said.

The once-feted executive, in his third point, said in the video that he had been the victim of a conspiratorial plot.

"The third point I want to tell you is that this is a conspiracy. This is not about specific events, this is not about greed, this is not about dictatorship," Ghosn said.

"This is about a plot, this is about conspiracy, this is about backstabbing, that is what we're talking about," he said, adding that the conspiracy was down to people and even the automaker itself feeling its autonomy was being threatened.

Ghosn, whose defense team said it will file an appeal with the Supreme Court on Wednesday against the Tokyo District Court's decision to detain him, went on to underscore his support for the autonomy of Nissan, highlighting the point, however, that it must be based on performance.

"I've been the fiercest defender of the autonomy of Nissan and I've made it very clear that no matter what the steps are in the future, this would continue. But this autonomy must be based on performance," stated Ghosn.

"Nobody gets autonomy for the sake of autonomy, people get autonomy because they can be more performative with autonomy and that was where the fear came because the performance of Nissan is not good. It has degraded a lot," he said, adding that the company had been issued multiple profit warnings and had been caught up in previous scandals that led to mistrust.

He said there were problems with the management of the company and that a few executives out of self-interest and selfish fears had created "a lot of value destruction."

"We're talking about people who really played a very dirty game into what's happening. But hopefully the truth will happen and the facts will happen," said Ghosn.

Ghosn, having explained the complexities of management and that of the alliance, said that as far as he was concerned he was a leader and not a dictator. He closed his address by saying he wanted nothing more than to have a fair trial.

"Finally what I would like to say is my big hope, my biggest wish is to have a fair trial. I am privileged to have three competent lawyers around me who are going to defend the case, but they don't share with me a lot of serenity about the fairness of the trial," said Ghosn.

"I'm not a lawyer, I'm not competent in this matter, but I will leave it to them to explain to you what specific conditions are required to ensure a fair trial that I can be hopefully vindicated," Ghosn said.

On Monday, Nissan Motor Co. shareholders removed Ghosn from its board severing a nearly two-decade relationship.

Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp., who comprise the Ghost-created alliance with Nissan, have said that Ghosn will step down as a director in June.

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 U.S. dollars.

Ghosn's lawyer Junichiro Hironaka has, meanwhile, slammed Japan's judicial system as being akin to "hostage justice."