- 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 on Wednesday.
- In a long press conference in front of international news outlets, Ghosn criticised his November 2018 arrest and allegations that he underreported his income and misused corporate funds, accusing his critics of “character assassination.”
- The automotive executive is on the run after evading house arrest in Japan on December 31 and resurfacing in Beirut, Lebanon, where he said he was escaping “injustice and political persecution.”
- Follow our coverage of Carlos Ghosn’s international escapade here.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Carlos Ghosn railed against his former employer and colleagues, Japanese prosecutors, and the media in a long press conference on Wednesday morning, his first public comments since he fled to Lebanon from Japan last year.
Ghosn criticised his November 2018 arrest and allegations that he underreported his income and misused corporate funds, 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 after evading house arrest in Japan on December 31 and resurfacing in Beirut, Lebanon, where he said 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 had denied any wrongdoing.
Ghosn laid out the sequence of events that led to his downfall, citing his efforts to shepherd the addition of Mitsubishi to the Renault-Nissan alliance in 2016, a decline at Nissan in 2017, and his falling out with members of Nissan’s board of directors.
13 months in custody and a sudden escape
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 said.
He described his treatment in custody and criticised Japanese authorities for preventing him from seeing his wife. In Japan, Ghosn was 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,” he said. “I was something between a human and animal and object.”
Ghosn declined to offer details about his escape and rejected speculation that his wife, Carole, was involved.
The Tokyo prosecutor’s office responded to Ghosn’s remarks on Wednesday, saying that his “allegations completely ignore his own conduct and his one sided criticism of the Japanese criminal justice system is totally unacceptable.”
Nissan said its internal investigation 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 said.
Ghosn on Tuesday called his former company’s remarks a “gross perversion of the truth.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.