During a lengthy press conference, ousted Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn finally managed to voice his side of the story, unfiltered and with no restraint.
After having made a daring, Hollywood-esque escape less than 2 weeks ago, escaping a “rigged” system, as he referred to it during the conference, Ghosn is now ready to go on the offensive.
The 65-year old automotive veteran spared no pleasantries – he explicitly named all those whom he believed were involved in the conspiracy to have him arrested on charges he still denies – of those is Hiroto Saikawa, Ghosn’s successor who was later fired after admitting to overpayment of remuneration. He even claimed the conspiracy has roots in the Japanese government system, but he declined to reveal how high he thought this “plot” goes. Apparently, he doesn’t believe it goes as high up as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Perhaps for the first time, Ghosn was able to freely share pages upon pages of evidence with the public that he believes exonerate him from all charges. According to the evidence he was finally able to share away from the grasps of prosecutors, he claims he can clear his name.
“I am ready to share the documents,” he said, adding that his Lebanese and international team of lawyers could provide them, according to the Financial Times.
Furthermore, he alluded to a conspiracy between Nissan and prosecutors, the latter party whom he stated had the upper hand throughout all proceedings, within the court and without.
“The collusion between Nissan and the prosecutor is everywhere,” he said. “I have been told this is totally illegal.”
In his eyes, Nissan wasn’t content with just arresting him – they had planned for a “character assassination.” Their strongest tool, he explains, was cutting him off from his wife, which brought him “to his knees.”
“I have to say, they have been very successful,” he said.
A “travesty against my human rights”
Ghosn went into details about the indecent conditions of his solitary detainment.
He found himself locked in a “tiny cell without [a] window”, and he was only allowed to shower twice a week. When he was allowed outside, it would be for 30 minutes only, but not on weekends due to a lack of guards. During holidays, he would be cut off from human contact, save for when he received his meals.
Interrogations could happen at any time of the day, and his wife particularly was banned from seeing him for fear of evidence tampering. The only time he did see her since his escape was months ago and only for two hours, where an embarrased lawyer had to preside as the two shared what little conversation they could have – all while being taped.
It was around Christmas of last year that he finally decided to escape, after hearing that his hearings could extend all the way to 2021 and beyond.
“You’re going to die in Japan or you have to get out,” he had concluded.
Given the 99% conviction rate in the Asian country, and how prosecutors had been given free reign to controlling all the conditions of his arrest and trial, he believed there was no chance of a “fair trial” for him, and so he fled. He refused to share details about his escape in fear of bringing harm to his rescuers, but he did share the details of his emotional state. He explained that he had become numb the moment he saw the prosecutor’s face, and that he had regained his sense of feeling and humanity the moment he was finally face to face with his wife.
When asked by the press if Ghosn had in actuality just exchanged one solitary cell in Japan for a larger one in Lebanon, he admonished the idea. To him, he was surrounded by friends and family, people who “respected” him and were “proud” of him, and not by individuals looking to bring him down or cause him harm.
As to whether he would be willing to stand trial in Lebanon for the case, he stated that he is ready to face trial “in the first forum where I can express myself in front of a justice who is not biased.”
Lebanon is not the end of the line for the now fugitive ex-CEO. In coming weeks, he has stated that he will pursue justice, hoping to clear him name once and for all.
For now, however, he is answering to a summons by a Lebanese prosecutor over an Interpol “red notice” regarding his alleged crimes in Japan, AFP reported. “He will also be asked to give a statement over a report submitted by Lebanese lawyers that he had travelled to neighbouring Israel as head of Renault-Nissan,” the news agency added.
When asked about this very visit by reporters at the conference, he said that he “went as the head of Renault,” after the company had asked him to go.
“I went as a Frenchman because of a contract between Renault and an Israeli company,” said Ghosn.