Ghosn speaks: ‘this is conspiracy and treason’
In a first officially accorded interview with the Japanese business daily Nikkei, Carlos Ghosn denies all accusations on his behalf and suspects the Nissan leaders of conspiracy and treason against him “to block the further reinforcement of the Nissan/Renault alliance”.
During 20 minutes, Carlos Ghosn was able to speak to Nikkei journalists in his cell, where he is now already in detention for 70 days. On the 11th of this month Ghosn has obtained permission to see other people than his lawyers or the personnel of 3 embassies (France, Brazil, Lebanon, his 3 citizenships).
In the interview Ghosn is attacking directly the Nissan leadership. He is accusing them of conspiracy and treason and says that the Nissan officials want him to pay for his endeavour to integrate further Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors.
Ghosn has initiated this project in September 2018 and talked about it with Hiroto Saikawa, CEO of Nissan. The Japanese company has reacted immediately on the Ghosn accusations, remembering that Nissan had already and categorically refuted all notions of a ‘putsch’ and that the secret inquiry led by the group since the summer of 2018 showed “significant and convincing proof of malversation”.
During the talk Ghosn has also reacted on the accusations that his ‘reign’ during 19 years of the Alliance was in fact a ‘dictatorship’. “People have deformed strong leadership into dictatorship in order to get rid of me”, he declared.
Ghown has been accused three times for abuse of trust and income malversation, which he has formally denied on the 8th of January when he appeared formally before court. His lawyers have already asked several times for a temporary release on parole, but the court has denied it for fear of destroying evidence or escape.
“I will not try to escape, I will defend myself”, he has responded on that. “All evidence is with Nissan and the company has forbidden to its employees to talk to me.” According to his lawyers, he will probably stay in jail until his trial and that can last months still.
Against the accusations Ghosn pleads they are a “deformation of reality”. Both the payments to a Saudi and the purchase of luxurious residences in Rio de Janeiro and Beirut have been validated by people and the law department at Nissan. “I had to have a safe place to work and meet people, both in Rio and in Beirut”, he affirms. “Did I do something illegal? I’m not a lawyer. Everybody knew what I was doing, why didn’t anybody tell me if it was?”
Ghosn has now lost all his titles. Already in November, the Nissan and Mitsubishi boards have ousted him, last week he has resigned (under heavy pressure) as CEO and President at Renault, so the board could elect successors.