11 July 2024

TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese business daily Nikkei reported Wednesday that Nissan’s former chairman Carlos Ghosn, in his first interview since he was detained in November, blamed his arrest on a plot by other Nissan executives who opposed his plan for closer ties with the automaker’s French alliance partner Renault.

The newspaper reported that it spoke with Ghosn for 20 minutes at the Tokyo Detention Center, where he has been held since Nov. 19. It was his first interview with media since his arrest. Earlier he was only allowed visits by his lawyers and embassy officials.

Prosecutors have charged Ghosn with allegedly falsifying financial reports in under-reporting his compensation. He has also been indicted for breach of trust related to his handling of investment losses and to payments made to a Saudi businessman.

In the interview, Ghosn reiterated his insistence that he is innocent and said others in the company schemed to force him out with a “plot and treason.”

Renault SA owns 43 percent of Nissan. It sent Ghosn to Japan in 1999 to help lead the Japanese automaker’s turnaround from near bankruptcy. Ghosn said he had discussed a “plan to integrate” Nissan with Renault and their smaller alliance partner Mitsubishi Motors Corp. with Nissan’s CEO, Hiroto Saikawa, in September, the report said.

The plan was to more closely integrate Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi Motors and ensure they had “autonomy under one holding company,” he told the newspaper.

The newspaper said Ghosn, 64, did not appear tired or flustered. When asked about his health he said he was “doing fine.”

“In life there are ups and downs,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.