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Ghosn claims arrest was result of 'plot and treason'

Ghosn claims arrest was result of plot and treason

Tokyo: Detained auto tycoon Carlos Ghosn believes his arrest and the charges against him are the result of a "plot and treason" at his former employer Nissan, he told the Nikkei newspaper Wednesday.

The Japanese business daily quoted Ghosn as saying he had "no doubt" that the charges against him were motivated by Nissan executives opposed to greater integration of the firm with its French alliance partner Renault.

This is the first press interview Ghosn has given since his stunning arrest on November 19 and it was conducted in the Tokyo detention centre where he has languished ever since.

The 64-year-old has been denied bail several times, with the court considering him a flight risk and concerned that he could attempt to destroy evidence.

But he again stressed that he "won't flee. I will defend (myself)", according to the Nikkei. "All the evidence is with Nissan and Nissan forbids all employees to talk to me," he added.

Even his own lawyer has said it is unlikely he will be released before a trial, which could take up to six months to organise given the complexity of the case.

Ghosn faces three separate charges, all of which he denies.

He stands accused of under-reporting his income between 2010 and 2015 to the tune of five billion yen (USD 46 billion) and continuing to do so for a further three years.

He also stands accused of a complex scheme to try to pass off personal foreign exchange losses to Nissan and using company funds to reimburse a Saudi contact who stumped up collateral for him.

The executive, once feted for his turnaround of the struggling Nissan, has been removed as chairman of the Japanese firm as well as of Mitsubishi Motors. He resigned as chairman and chief executive of French company Renault.

He told the Nikkei that there was a plan to "integrate" the three companies but insisted it was intended to ensure there would be "autonomy under one holding company."

Earlier, French carmaker Renault said Thursday that it had named Thierry Bollore as its new chief executive and Jean-Dominique Senard as board chairman, replacing former boss Carlos Ghosn following his arrest in Japan for alleged financial misconduct.

Senard, currently the CEO of tyre giant Michelin, will represent Renault in its powerful alliance with Japanese carmakers Nissan and Mitsubishi, Renault added in a statement following a board meeting.

Bollore, the chief operating officer who had been Ghosn's heir apparent as CEO, has been running the company in the wake of Ghosn's sensational arrest in November. He will be tasked with coordinating Renault's side of "the alliance's activities in the operational field" under Senard's authority, the statement said.

Agencies

Agencies

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