Carlos Ghosn, former chairman of Nissan Motor Co., sits in a vehicle as he leaves his lawyer’s office in Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday, March 6, 2019.
Takaaki Iwabu | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The remarks from Ghosn’s defense team come a day before Ghosn is expected to publicly speak for the first time since secretly fleeing Japan, where he was under strict house arrest, to Lebanon on Dec. 30 to escape what he called a “rigged” justice system.
The statement claims Nissan’s investigation into the executive for alleged financial misconduct and misuse of corporate resources was “never about finding the truth; it 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, one of Japan’s iconic, flagship companies.”
The statement from Ghosn’s team follows a statement from Nissan saying it would “continue to take appropriate legal action to hold Ghosn accountable for the harm that his misconduct has caused.”
Ghosn, who simultaneously led three automakers as part of the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance, has denied all charges against him. He had been awaiting trial in Japan since his initial November 2018 arrest on charges of financial misconduct and misuse of corporate resources for personal gain.
The Tuesday statement further questioned Nissan’s “robust, thorough internal investigation,” which Ghosn’s defense team called a “gross perversion of the truth.”
Criticism of the investigation by Ghosn’s defense team include: Nissan not interviewing him during the probe; failure to find any initial wrongdoing of ex-Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa, who resigned in September; and overall claims of the company’s processes regarding an independent firm for the internal investigation as well as the role of a former senior vice president.
“These are not the hallmarks of a company committed to conducting [a] fair and impartial investigation, rather evidence that Nissan’s investigation was fundamentally flawed, biased, and lacking in independence from its inception,” Ghosn’s team said.
Ghosn, who is reportedly a citizen of Brazil, France and Lebanon, is expected to make his first public comments since his arrest and escape from Japan at a news conference Wednesday morning from Lebanon.