In first interview Ghosn cites treachery and plot behind his downfall

In first interview Ghosn cites treachery and plot behind his downfall

It was the first press interview Ghosn has given since his stunning arrest on November 19, conducted in the Tokyo detention centre where he has languished ever since. Earlier this month, he resigned as chairman and CEO of Renault and was replaced by Jean-Donimique Senard, the former chairman of Michelin.

Renault SA, Nissan Motor Co Ltd and Mitsubishi Motors Corp together sold 10.76 million passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in 2018, according to Reuters' calculations after new data released on January 30.

But this is understood to have ruffled feathers at Nissan - with Mr Ghosn claiming it eventually led to his arrest as opponents sought to block the plan.

The arrests have cost Ghosn his positions at Nissan, Mitsubishi and Renault, and his absence has led to questions about the alliance's future.

He said he ultimately wanted to ensure there would be "autonomy under one holding company" once the businesses were more closely integrated.

Local publication the Nikkei Asian Review said it was able to talk to him in person for around 20 minutes.

Prosecutors have charged Ghosn with falsifying financial reports in under-reporting his compensation.

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Mr Ghosn denied he was in breach of trust and said payments made to Nissan's Saudi business partner Khaled Al-Juffali were carried out from Nissan's "CEO reserve" and "four officers signed" for the payment.

As for his luxury properties in Rio de Janeiro and Beirut, Nissan claims that the purchases of the homes were improperly paid for by a subsidiary company, although Ghosn objects, stating that the purchases were approved by the legal department.

However, Ghosn said, "All the evidence is with Nissan", adding, "I won't flee, I will defend (myself)". "I am not a lawyer, I don't know the interpretation of [such] facts", Ghosn said, showing his frustration over Nissan's internal investigation. It was for the "purpose of getting rid of me", he was quoted as saying.

Family members have said his detention conditions are overly hard and even French President Emmanuel Macron has criticised them as "harsh". He justified the houses on the grounds that he "needed a safe place where [he] can work and receive people in both Brazil and Lebanon". Mr Ghosn has not been allowed to meet or communicate with family members and his repeated requests to be released on bail have been denied by Japanese authorities, despite providing assurances to wear an ankle tracking device and personally pay for security.

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 three companies which form the alliance are expected to revisit how it is operated in the absence of Ghosn's leadership.

The newspaper said Ghosn did not appear exhausted or flustered and when asked about his health, he said he was "doing fine".

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