Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn has accused Nissan executives of plotting his spectacular downfall after being arrested and arraigned in Japan last year.
The once-revered auto tycoon was arrested on his private jet at a Tokyo airport on November 19 on allegations of aggravated breach of trust and later released.
Ghosn was then re-arrested over these allegations on December 21, dashing his hopes of being home for Christmas.
In his first media interview since his stunning arrest, Ghosn told Japanese news organization Nikkei that he had “no doubt” that the allegations against him are the result of “plot and treason” by Nissan executives who opposed his plan to deepen the automaker’s integration with its French partner Renault.
During the Nikkei interview, he reiterated his denial of charges of financial misconduct, which have cost him his top roles at Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi Motors — the three companies he brought together to form the world’s biggest carmaking alliance.
The 64-year-old business leader’s fall from grace has raised questions about the future of the alliance, which makes one in nine cars sold worldwide and employs more than 450,000 people.
In the interview published Wednesday, Ghosn rejected suggestions that he ran Nissan for nearly two decades as a “dictatorship.”
“People translated strong leadership to dictator, to distort reality” and for the “purpose of getting rid of me,” he told Nikkei.
Nissan said in November that it began cooperating with Japanese prosecutors after a whistleblower helped it uncover serious financial misconduct by Ghosn.
In the interview, Ghosn acknowledged for the first time that “there was a plan” to integrate the three carmakers more closely and that this had been discussed with Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa. Ghosn said his plan was to give Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi “autonomy under one holding company.”
Responding to the interview, a Nissan spokesman said that “the sole cause of this chain of events is the misconduct led by Ghosn.”