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'Plot' To Stop Renault-Nissan Integration Put Him In Jail, Ghosn Tells Nikkei

'Plot' To Stop Renault-Nissan Integration Put Him In Jail, Ghosn Tells Nikkei
A group of Nissan executives had created a "plot and treason" against the former chairman of the company Carlos Ghosn byt those who were against his plans of closer integration between Nissan and Renault and which resulted in his detention in Japan for alleged financial misconduct, Ghosn has said.
According to an interview with the Nikkei newspaper delivering his first direct comments since he was arrested on November 19, Ghosn claimed that there were some specific Nissna executives who had "distorted reality" so that he could be got rid of.
The notion of a coup has already been categorically refuted by Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa, said a Nissan spokesman.
Ghosn had drawn up specific plans for greater integration of Renault, Nissan and the third company in the alliance - Japanese auto maker Mitsubishi Motors, he told the newspaper. Ghosn had also discussed the integration plans with the CEO of Nissan, Hiroto Saikawa in September. Ghosn said that Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors would have "autonomy under one holding company", according to his plans.
Authorities allowed Ghosn to talk to the newspaper for a period of 20 minutes at the Tokyo Detention House where he has been detained in a small cell ever since he was arrested. The charges against him include alleged under reporting of the executive remuneration he received from Nissan and of transferring his personal losses to the company.
Ghosn termed as "a distortion of reality" the charge against him that he had received almost 8 million euros in improper payment through a Dutch-based joint venture of the two automakers Nissan and Mitsubishi.
Further Nissan’s legal department had also approved the purchase of his luxury residences by Nissan in Rio de Janeiro and Beirut, he said. The company was unaware that the company had made the payment for the purchasing of the residences for Ghosn, Nissan has said.
The allegations of improper payments to a company run by a Saudi businessman were also denied by Ghosn who claimed that a Nissan executive had approved of the payment.
Other allegations about his dictatorial nature at Nissan were also denied by Ghosn. "People translated strong leadership to dictator, to distort reality" for the "purpose of getting rid of me," he said.
Ghosn also told the newspaper that he was fit in terms of physical health and that he would not leave Japan if he was granted bail.
The arrest of Ghosn has created strain in the alliance between Nissan and the French car maker Renault even though both the companies have stressed on their commitment to the partnership. But for a long time, Nissan has been peeved by the control that Renault has on it derived from the 43 per cent ownership of Renault in Nissan and two voting members on the company board. Nissan claims that this arrangement of the company structure is flawed and tilted towards Renault because the Japanese car maker has only a 15 per cent stake in the French car company with no voting rights.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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