- Carlos Ghosn, the fugitive former Nissan executive facing charges of financial malfeasance in Japan, painted a picture of a corporate plot between his former employer and Japanese prosecutors in his first public comments on the case Wednesday.
- Ghosn gave a lengthy press conference in front of international media during which he criticized his November 2018 arrest and accusations that he underreported his income and misused corporate funds, accused his critics of „character assassination.“
- The automotive executive is on the run from Japan after having escaped house arrest there on December 31, 2019, later resurfacing in Beirut, Lebanon, where he asserted that he was escaping „injustice and political persecution.“
- Follow full coverage of Carlos Ghosn’s international escapade here.
Carlos Ghosn railed against his former employer and colleagues, Japanese prosecutors, and the media in a lengthy press conference on Wednesday morning, his first public comments since he fled to Lebanon from Japan last year.
Ghosn criticized his November 2018 arrest and accusations that he underreported his income and misused corporate funds, while accusing his critics of „character assassination.“
„As you can imagine today is a very important day for me,“ Ghosn said, „one I have looked forward to every single day for more than 400 days since I was brutally taken for my world as I knew it, and ripped from my family, my friends, my communities, from Renault-Nissan, and Mitsubishi, and the 450,000 women and men who comprise those companies.“
The automotive executive is on the run from Japan after having escaped house arrest there on December 31, 2019, later resurfacing in Beirut, Lebanon, where he asserted that he was escaping „injustice and political persecution.“ Ghosn is facing multiple charges of financial misconduct stemming from his time as head of the Renault-Nissan alliance. He denies any wrongdoing.
Ghosn laid out the sequence of events that led to his downfall as he recalls them. He cited his efforts to shepherd the addition of the automaker Mitsubishi to the Renault-Nissan alliance in 2016, a decline at Nissan in 2017, and a falling out between him and members of Nissan’s board of directors.
Thirteen months in custody and a sudden escape
Foto: Carlos Ghosn.sourceThe Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images
Ghosn described in detail the day of his arrest at an airport in Japan, calling the ordeal „staged,“ and saying he was told by authorities that there was a problem with his visa. It was there that he first encountered a prosecutor, Ghosn said, adding that he asked for permission to call Nissan so the company could send an attorney.
„But obviously, I didn’t know that Nissan was behind it and it was staged way before between the prosecutor and the company,“ Ghosn claimed.
He described his treatment in custody and criticized Japanese authorities for preventing him from seeing his wife. During his time in Japan, Ghosn had been rearrested on several occasions and spent months in jail before he was released on a multimillion-dollar bail agreement and placed on house arrest.
„I was not a human anymore. I was something between a human and animal and object,“ Ghosn said.
The Tokyo prosecutor’s office responded to Ghosn’s new remarks on Wednesday, saying „Defendant Ghosn’s allegations completely ignore his own conduct and his one sided criticism of the Japanese criminal justice system is totally unacceptable.“
One day earlier, Nissan called Ghosn’s conduct, including his escape from Japan, „extremely regrettable.“ Ghosn declined to offer details about his escape and rejected previous speculation that his wife, Carole, may have been involved.
Nissan cited its own internal investigation during which the company said it found „incontrovertible evidence of various acts of misconduct by Ghosn, including misstatement of his compensation and misappropriation of the company’s assets for his personal benefit.“
„The consequences of Ghosn’s misconduct have been significant,“ Nissan’s statement read. Ghosn on Tuesday called his former company’s remarks a „gross perversion of the truth.“
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