Carlos Ghosn’s lawyers attacked his former employer Nissan in a statement issued to news media on Wednesday (8 January), hours before his highly anticipated news conference scheduled for 1pm GMT, accusing the car maker of using a “flawed, biased” internal probe to arrange his arrest.

The international legal team said in a statement cited by Reuters Nissan Motor was trying to prevent Ghosn from more closely integrating the Japanese company and its alliance partner Renault, which he also once headed.

Reuters said Ghosn’s Japanese lawyers, despite their client having vanished from the country on 29 December 2019, blocked Tokyo prosecutors from seizing a computer the former Nissan and Alliance CEO had used.

Ghosn had been allowed to use the internet only under his lawyers’ supervision under his bail conditions.

Based on attorney-client privilege, “we refused to allow them access to the (local lawyers’) office and asked them to leave” an official with the Tokyo law firm told Reuters.

According to the report, Ghosn’s international lawyers said Nissan “never once” tried to interview the executive or share with him evidence it had accumulated against him.

Japanese authorities on Monday issued an arrest warrant for Ghosn’s wife, Carole, for alleged perjury in connection with her husband’s financial dealings, Reuters said.

Carole told French newspaper Le Parisien Japanese prosecutors were “hoping to put pressure on my husband” ahead of his press conference in Lebanon.

The statement from Ghosn’s legal team seeks to focus attention on his claim that he was the victim of a coup by Nissan executives who opposed giving up more authority to Renault, Reuters said.

Nissan said in a statement it had “discovered numerous acts of misconduct by Ghosn through a robust, thorough internal investigation” which “found incontrovertible evidence of various acts of misconduct by Ghosn, including misstatement of his compensation and misappropriation of the company’s assets for his personal benefit” so he was “removed from office”.

“In addition to his prosecution in Japan, the US Securities and Exchange Commission concluded that Ghosn’s conduct, including his schemes to underreport his compensation, was fraudulent. Investigations in France concerning possible misconduct are still ongoing.”

“Ghosn’s flight will not affect Nissan’s basic policy of holding him responsible for the serious misconduct uncovered by the internal investigation. The company will continue to take appropriate legal action to hold Ghosn accountable for the harm that his misconduct has caused to Nissan.”

But Ghosn’s lawyers told Reuters Nissan’s claim of “a robust, thorough internal investigation” was a “gross perversion of the truth”.

The investigation “was initiated and carried out for the specific, predetermined purpose of taking down Carlos Ghosn to prevent him from further integrating Nissan and Renault, which threatened the independence of Nissan”, the lawyers wrote.

Ghosn has denied all charges against him, saying he was the victim of “backstabbing” and “conspiracy” by Nissan executives.

Ghosn’s legal team also accused Nissan of allowing Hari Nada, an executive “whose own conduct was the subject of the investigation”, to run the probe of Ghosn.

The statement also charged that Latham & Watkins, the law firm that assisted Nissan’s investigation, was not independent because it had long acted as outside counsel for the company.

According to Reuters, Ghosn’s lawyers also said Nissan’s investigation failed to uncover evidence that then-CEO Hiroto Saikawa had also benefited from improper compensation.

Saikawa resigned last year after admitting he had been overpaid in violation of internal procedures.

Reuters, citing a Japanese foreign ministry statement, said Japan’s ambassador to Lebanon, Takeshi Okubo, met Lebanese president Michel Aoun on Tuesday, calling Ghosn’s flight to Lebanon “deeply regrettable” and requesting cooperation from Beirut.