By Noemí Jabois
Beirut, Dec 18 (efe-epa).- Former Nissan president Carlos Ghosn says that legal cases filed against him in a host of countries are “fabricated” and are down to the fact that no-one expected him to escape from Japan.
He joined EFE for an interview in Beirut, where he arrived a year ago, to mark the publication in Spanish of his book “Time for the Truth.”
As usual, he did not divulge the details of his Hollywood-worthy escape from Japan.
The former director arrives a few minutes ahead of schedule at the hotel, just a few hundred meters from the house where he allegedly resides in a Christian neighborhood in the heart of the Lebanese capital — a property that is also the topic of a dispute with Nissan.
At the end of 2018, the former CEO of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance was arrested in Japan for concealing compensation deals made with Nissan Motor between 2011-18.
The deals, with an estimated value of up to $90 million, had been earmarked for after his retirement.
Since then, the businessman, Brazilian-born with French and Lebanese nationality, maintains he was the victim of a “coup.”
VARIOUS CASES IN VARIOUS COUNTRIES
“There was only one reason for which I was arrested, which is the same for which (former Nissan chairman) Greg Kelly today, is still in Japan being tried for. It is that I didn’t declare a compensation that was neither decided nor paid,” he says.
His imprisonment, he says, was organized under the pretext of finding more time “because they wanted to find something else, they knew that this wouldn’t stick.”
Ghosn has cases against him in France, where authorities are investigating accusations of peddling influence, embezzlement, and corruption.
Prosecutors are also pursuing an investigation into whether he used Renault company funds to throw a lavish private party at the Palace of Versailles.
French authorities are looking into his decision to move his fiscal residence to the Netherlands, where the Renault-Nissan alliance is registered for tax.
“I am defending myself in Holland, in France, hopefully, one day in Lebanon, against the system which is rigged, on which accusations had been fabricated for a very simple reason: they never thought I would escape, nobody escapes from Japan.”
In his book, Ghosn directly alludes to the people at Nissan and the Tokyo prosecutor’s office, but during the interview, he limits his references to “they,” without identifying those concerned.
According to the former CEO “they” had a plan that eventually failed.
“For them, (it was) we arrest him and then we have a lot of time to throw a lot of accusations at him and he is going to be there (in prison for) 10, 15 or 20 years and, there, the story is going to be forgotten.”
“I was able to escape and talk about my case,” he adds.