TOKYO / PARIS – Carlos Ghosn, former head of the Nissan-Renault automation alliance, maintained his innocence in a video taken before his fourth arrest in Japan on Thursday on new charges of abusing corporate money.
"I & # 39; I appeal to the French government to defend me and preserve my rights as a citizen caught in an incredible chain of events abroad," Ghosn told French news channel LCI in an interview via a video call, there was partially released online Thursday.
"I & # 39; I'm innocent, it's hard, you know," he added.
Thursday's arrest marks an escalation of the battle between the Brazilian-born Frenchman and Japanese prosecutors seeking to portray him as a rogue executive who transformed Nissan Motor into his personal property.
Ghosn, who has maintained his innocence since his first arrest last November, has returned to the media to try to take control of the story. He was arrested one day after he wrote in his new Twitter account that he would "tell the truth about what's happening" at a press conference next week.
Meanwhile, the Tokyo office's government office is pushing the pressure on the former director. While his first three arrests were based on somewhat lighter allegations ̵
The review for prosecutors came when they succeeded in identifying the exact bank account used in the alleged scheme. They initially had trouble collecting evidence for the Middle East transactions. However, by reviewing email and accounting documentation from Nissan, they landed on an account controlled by a Lebanese company.
"Many lies are told and these lies are revealed to each other," Ghosn told LCI. "Not a single day, a single week, goes without any new accusations." There are several people inside the Nissan that are the reason for that, "he said, suggesting a plot against him at the Japanese automaker.
French finance minister Bruno Le Maire told the local news channel BFM on Thursday that Ghosn" should benefit of alleged innocence "Le Maire said his own role was to ensure the smooth management of Renault, which is 15% owned by the French state.
Ghosn recorded another video before his arrest," said Junichiro Hironaka, who leads it former auto-defense defense team. Hironaka did not say when that video would be released.
Ghos's arrest under bail is a very rare step for prosecutors.
"A careful decision was made on the basis of what can certainly be proven "accused a prosecutor." There is nothing to complain about. "
Ghosn is already facing financial failures in submitting his compensation over nine years and a worsening trust breach tied to allegations that he transferred Nissan's personal trading process from forward exchange contracts. In the latter case, no real damage was caused to Nissan.
This time, the responsibility for aggravated violation of trust in Ghosn, channeling Nissan money to an account controlled by itself.
Between December 2015 and July 2018, a total of $ 15 million was transferred from a subsidiary of Nissan to Suhail Bahwan Automobiles, an Omani distributor run by a Ghosn associate. The money was apparently for marketing expenses.
Prosecutors say that approx. $ 5 million of this money was then channeled to a Good Faith Investments bank account, an investment firm in Lebanon, of which Ghosn had significant control. Ghosn's family originates from Lebanon.
Good Faith Investments is also suspected of transferring funds to a US company managed by Ghosn's son, people familiar with the investigation.
Sources said the money was allegedly sent via several companies to account controlled by Ghosn. This was supposed to hide the offense, according to prosecutors continuing their investigation.
Ghosn, released on bail March 6 after more than three months in detention, wrote on Twitter Wednesday that he intended to hold a press conference on April 11 later he was taken to a Tokyo detention center where he will be prevented from contacting friends and family.
Hironaka accused prosecutors of violating Ghos's rights after they had confiscated documents and notebooks in his Tokyo apartment that were accustomed to preparing his defense against previous charges. Prosecutors also took goods from Ghosn's wife who are not under investigation.
"This is a violation of defense rights," Hironaka said. "We are wondering if this [confiscation] was the target of prosecutors. This should not happen in a civilized country."
Hironaka said Tokyo prosecutors were expected tomorrow to request Ghosn to be detained and that the defense team would appeal this was approved. Ghosn could be detained for 20 days, beyond the 108 days he has already earned.
Akiko Yamakawa, a lawyer at Vanguard Lawyers Tokyo, questioned Ghosn's arrest. Hironaka had already indicated that he would be ready to participate in a voluntary hearing. "Japan's justice of justice" makes it easier for prosecutors to investigate while Ghosn is detained, "Yamakawa said.
Ghosn was first arrested in November, after the results of an internal investigation at Nissan were handed over to prosecutors. CEOs to immerse him to prevent integration with Renault, where he was also chairman.
Ghosn denounced arrest in a statement Thursday, the "outrageous and arbitrary" arrest is part of another trial by some individuals in Nissan to tell me how to mislead the charges. Why arrest me except to try to break me? I will not be broken, "he promised.
Mitsuru Obe in Tokyo contributed to this report.