- Carlos Ghosn, the ousted Nissan chairman, who is facing multiple allegations of financial misconduct, spoke publicly for the first time since he was arrested in Japan on November 19.
- “I have acted honorably, legally, and with the knowledge and approval of the appropriate executives inside the company,” Ghosn said Tuesday inside a Tokyo courthouse according to The Wall Street Journal.
- The longtime Nissan executive is accused of underreporting his income and transferring more than $US16 million in personal investment losses to the automaker.
- Ghosn’s arrest reverberated throughout the automotive world. He is admired for helping save Nissan from bankruptcy in the late 1990s.
Carlos Ghosn appeared in a Tokyo courtroom on Tuesday and spoke publicly for first time since he was arrested on multiple financial misconduct allegations on November 19.
The longtime Nissan executive is accused of underreporting his income and transferring more than $US16 million in personal investment losses to the automaker.
Arriving to court in a dark suit, white shirt, and handcuffs, Ghosn said, “I have acted honorably, legally, and with the knowledge and approval of the appropriate executives inside the company,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
He made several more declarations, insisting he was “wrongly accused and unfairly detained.” Speaking to the accusation of underreporting his compensation at Nissan, Ghosn claimed that all of his income from his work for the Japanese automaker had been properly disclosed, adding: “nor did I ever enter into any binding contract with Nissan to be paid a fixed amount that was not disclosed.”
Ghosn has been detained for nearly two months. Judge Yuichi Tada who is overseeing Ghosn’s case said he is considered a flight risk.
Hours ahead of his appearance, photographers in Tokyo captured long lines of people vying to get inside the courtroom. Reuters reported more than 1,100 people showed up for a chance to grab one of the 14 gallery seats inside the courtroom. A police bus believed to be carrying Ghosn was seen parked outside.
Ghosn’s arrest in November reverberated throughout the automotive world.
He had been admired for helping save Nissan from the brink of bankruptcy in the late 1990s, which included a strategic partnership with the French automaker Renault in 1999. Mitsubishi joined the group in 2016, and two years later, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance under Ghosn’s leadership became the world’s largest automaker by sales.
Both Nissan and Mitsubishi booted Ghosn after the financial misconduct allegations came down. Nissan CEO and president Hiroto Saikawa publicly rebuked Ghosn.
So far, Renault has been less aggressive. It named an acting CEO and chairman shortly after Ghosn’s arrest, but it has not officially severed ties.
In court on Tuesday, Ghosn praised Nissan, recounting how he worked “day and night, on the Earth and in the air” to ensure the Japanese automaker’s success, according to Bloomberg.
Other Nissan executives affected
Ghosn’s mounting legal troubles have touched other executives in the Nissan ecosystem.
Former Nissan executive Greg Kelly was arrested alongside Ghosn in November. Arun Bajaj, Nissan’s head of human resources, has taken leave from the company, but is said to be cooperating with Japanese authorities, the Financial Times reported.
And Nissan’s chief performance officer Jose Munoz is also on leave to focus on “special tasks arising from recent events,” a matter that Bloomberg reports is directly related to Ghosn.
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