Defiant Ghosn Pins hopes on French investigation to clear his name

Auto magnate-turned-fugitive Carlos Ghosn is campaigning to clear his name, and hopes a visit by French investigators to his range in exile in Lebanon are going to be his first real opportunity to defend himself since the bombshell arrest that transformed him from a visionary to a prisoner overnight.

In an interview with The Associated Press, the embattled former chairman of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance dissected his legal troubles in Japan, France and therefore the Netherlands, detailed how he plotted his brazen shake Osaka, and reflected on his new reality in crisis-hit Lebanon, where he’s stuck for the foreseeable future.

Mending his reputation are going to be an arduous task. Ghosn was arrested in Japan in November 2018 on accusations of monetary misconduct and fled to Lebanon a year later. He now faces multiple legal challenges in France after the japanese accusations triggered scrutiny of his activities there. Meanwhile, several associates are in jail or unproved in Japan and Turkey, in cases regarding his financial activities or escape.

“There has been plenty of fatal accident … but I don’t think I’m liable for that. The people liable for that are the people that organized the plot” to bring him down, Ghosn said Tuesday.

Ghosn has denied accusations of under-reporting his compensation and misusing company funds, contending he was the victim of a company coup linked to a decline in Nissan Motor Co.’s financial performance because the Japanese automaker resisted losing autonomy to French partner Renault.

He said he voluntarily agreed to undergo days of questioning in Beirut next week by French magistrates investigating allegations of monetary misconduct in France that led to the seizure of many euros of his assets. the result could end in preliminary charges being handed to him or within the cases being dropped.

The French investigators are looking into the financing of lavish parties Ghosn threw at the Versailles chateau — complete with period costumes and copious Champagne — also as 11 million euros in spending on private planes and events arranged by a Dutch company , and subsidies to a car dealership in Oman. Ghosn denies any wrongdoing.

“In Japan, you had a Japanese person interrogating me, writing in Japanese and wanting me to sign things in Japanese that I don’t understand,” he said. “Now i will be able to be speaking in French, and I’ll have my lawyers present. Of course, i’ve got far more confidence within the French system than within the Japanese system.”

Ghosn was kept in solitary in Japan for months without being allowed to talk together with his wife. He has said he fled the country after it became clear he would have “zero” chances of a good trial. His arrest drew international scrutiny and criticism of Japan’s system and its 99% conviction rate.

In late 2019, Ghosn fled Japan after jumping $14 million bail during a Hollywood-style caper. The improbable escape — hidden during a box stashed within the hold of a Turkey-bound private jet, consistent with Japanese officials — embarrassed Japanese authorities and has allowed him to evade trial there.

Now a world fugitive on Interpol’s most-wanted list, the 67-year-old Ghosn lives in self-imposed exile in his native Lebanon, where he teaches a weekly university business course and is fighting other legal fires.

He told the AP he was “shocked” after a Dutch court last week rejected his wrongful dismissal claim against an Amsterdam-based alliance between Nissan and Mitsubishi, and ordered him to repay the nearly 5 million euros ($6 million) salary he received in 2018. The ruling came during a case during which Ghosn sought to possess his 2018 sacking from Nissan-Mitsubishi B.V. overturned and demanded 15 million euros ($16.5 million) in compensation.

Ghosn has vowed to appeal.

Ghosn, who has French, Brazilian and Lebanese citizenship, contended he was the victim of a personality assassination campaign led by Nissan with the complicity of the japanese government, aided by accomplices in France.

In the AP interview, he mounted a strong defense of a former Nissan executive, American Greg Kelly, who was arrested an equivalent day as Ghosn and is standing trial during a Tokyo District court on charges of under-reporting Ghosn’s compensation. He wouldn’t mention two other Americans who allegedly helped him escape, Michael Taylor and his son, Peter. they’re during a Japanese jail awaiting trial after their extradition from the US.

Asked whether their legal troubles weighed on his conscience, Ghosn said: “I feel empathy and compassion for them, because i used to be within the same situation.”

Testimony and documents presented at Kelly’s trial have shown that he sought ways to strengthen compensation for Ghosn after he agreed to a salary cut at Nissan in 2010, because Japan began requiring disclosures of high executive pay. Ghosn insisted Tuesday that no additional compensation agreements were approved by the board.

“Obviously he (Kelly) is innocent,” Ghosn said.

Recalling details of his escape, Ghosn told the AP how the plan was hatched, including choosing to execute it in December when he would be less likely to be recognized under a hat and heavy clothes.

“It was very bold, but because it had been bold, i assumed it’s going to win ,” he said. Ghosn refused to verify reports he escaped during a instrument box, saying he didn’t want to mention anything that would be used against people being prosecuted for assisting him.

Arriving during a black Nissan SUV amid a bodyguard, the previous high-flying executive appeared to have lost none of his swagger despite his colossal fall. He said he spends his days in Beirut preparing his legal defense, teaching, helping startups and dealing on his books and documentaries.

As a fugitive living within the Mediterranean country where he grew up, he said he was enjoying a slower pace barren of fatigue , enjoying having coffee together with his |along with his” together with his wife and extensive talks with his children.

That includes living during a deeply unstable country within the grips of a historic financial and economic unraveling. Ghosn said he spent six months repairing his home after it had been damaged within the massive explosion at a Beirut port last summer. And like other Lebanese, he said he features a substantial amount of cash stuck within the banks after authorities clamped down on dollar currency withdrawals and transfers in October 2019.

Reflecting on his downfall, he said, “It’s such as you have, you know, I don’t know, a attack somewhere, or you’ve been hit by a bus. you modify your life.”

“All of a sudden, you’re during a completely different reality and you’ve got to adapt to the present reality.”

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button
Verified by MonsterInsights