Carlos Ghosn has said Nissan executives opposed to his plans for closer ties with Renault resorted to “plot and treason” to disrupt them and were behind the financial misconduct allegations against him.
According to Reuters, citing a Nikkei newspaper interview, his first with media since his arrest on 19 November, Ghosn said he had discussed plans to integrate the companies with Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa in September.
But Nissan executives employed “plot and treason” to uproot those plans, Ghosn said.
Ghosn had pushed for a deeper tie-up between Nissan and Renault, including possibly a full merger, despite strong reservations at the Japanese corporation, Reuters said.
He remains in detention following his arrest and indictment on charges related to breach of trust and understating his salary.
His arrest has clouded the outlook for closer ties between Nissan and Renault, along with Mitsubishi Motors, the third member of the automaking alliance.
Since his arrest, Saikawa has said it was not the time to discuss revising the partners’ complex capital ties, Reuters noted. Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors have dismissed him as chairman, while he has resigned from the helm at Renault.
Ghosn denied accusations of improper payments to a company run by a Saudi businessman, saying the payment had been approved by a Nissan executive.
Ghosn also called accusations by both Nissan and Mitsubishi that he received nearly EUR8m in improper payment through a Dutch-based joint venture of the two automakers “a distortion of reality” and argued his luxury residences in Rio de Janeiro and Beirut were approved by Nissan’s legal department.
Reuters noted Nissan had said it was not aware it had paid for many of Ghosn’s properties.
A spokesman told the news agency the company was unable to comment on Ghosn’s legal defence.
Ghosn, in the 20-minute interview, reportedly denied his tenure at Nissan had been a “dictatorship”.
“People translated strong leadership to dictator, to distort reality” for the “purpose of getting rid of me,” he said.
Ghosn added his health was fine and that he wouldn’t flee if freed on bail.
Meanwhile, NHK reported Saikawa plans to hold his first face to face discussion with new Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard on the sidelines of an alliance meeting in the Netherlands on Thursday.