After enjoying a short spell of freedom after being granted bail, ousted Nissan executive Carlos Ghosn was back in custody and in holding. However, just a day before his 4th arrest last week, he recorded a video he intended as a backup plan in case his planned press conference would not take place. As expected, the press conference was a no-go for him, as he was back behind bars.
Still, his lawyers screened the video in question at a press conference yesterday.
According to the Japan Times (JT), Ghosn’s attorneys said he “recorded himself talking about the case because of the possibility that the prosecutors could bring fresh allegations against him and he might be deprived of an opportunity to tell his side of the story. Both Ghosn and Hironaka (Ghosn’s head lawyer Junichiro Hironaka) denounced prosecutors for sabotaging a planned news conference by arresting him.”
JT continued: “Hironaka repeated his remarks from last week that Ghosn’s fourth arrest isn’t justifiable as he did not pose a flight risk and was not at risk of tampering with evidence. The prosecutors are taking “cruel steps” to force Ghosn into making a confession, he said.”
In the video, Ghosn defends his innocence, showing his concern for Nissan’s performance in recent years and in the aftermath of his arrest. He lamented its fate following 20 years of work he put into rebuilding Nissan from its troubled state in 1999.
“I’m worried,” Ghosn continued. “I’m worried because, obviously, the performance of Nissan is declining, but also I’m worried because I don’t think there is any vision for the alliance being built. Frankly, sitting around a table, being consensual about a decision – this is not a vision in an industry which is as competitive as the car industry.”
Last month, Ghosn was barred from a board meeting that consequently resulted in a new Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance.
As for the “conspiracy” he states is targeting him, Ghosn has a clear idea about the Nissan executives that perpetrated this “plot.”
The ousted chairman and CEO names those he believes had a hand in his arrests, but the video edits the names out. According to Hironaka, and as reported by JT, “Ghosn originally named individuals as masterminds of the conspiracy, but the defense team redacted those names at their discretion after getting consent from Ghosn.”
Ghosn indirectly addresses a popular theory that has been making the rounds across media ever since his arrest: the timing of Ghosn’s investigation and arrest comes on the cusp of the”the next step” in the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance. He implies that fear among Nissan execs about the autonomy of the Japanese automaker is what triggered his investigation. Renault owns 43% of Nissan, while Nissan owns only 15% of Renault.
Ghosn’s 4th arrest follows new charges of an aggravated breach of trust over payments made to a dealer in Oman.
Today, Ghosn’s lawyers filed a protest with the Japanese Supreme Court to appeal his 4th arrest, as per the Associated Press. Hironaka deemed the arrest “unfair.”
Earlier this week, Nissan stripped Ghosn of the last of his titles at the company, effectively removing his as board director.
In closing, Ghosn ended the video by saying that he hopes for a fair trial. A date for a trial has not been specified yet, however, but is expected to land somewhere in mid-2019. Ghosn’s current holding period expires by the end of the week.