Ex-Nissan chief appears in Tokyo court, says he is ‘wrongly accused and unfairly detained’

Ex-Nissan chief appears in Tokyo court, says he is ‘wrongly accused and unfairly detained’

Agency News

Tokyo, Jan 8: In his first public appearance after his arrest in November, Nissan Motor Co's former Chairman Carlos Ghosn on Tuesday said before a Tokyo Court that he was innocent and 'wrongly accused and unfairly detained' in the allegations of financial misconduct that led to his lengthy detention.

"I have been wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated allegations," Ghosn said in a prepared statement after his request to voice his opinions was granted by the court.

The ousted chairman went on to say that he did not violate Japan's Financial Instruments and Exchange Act because the amount of the unpaid portion of his compensation had yet to be determined.

Under the Japanese law, the amount of compensation has to be disclosed once it has been made clear.

"Contrary to the accusations made by the prosecutors, I never received any compensation from Nissan that was not disclosed, nor did I ever enter into any binding contract with Nissan to be paid a fixed amount that was not disclosed," Ghosn told the court.

His defence counsel has maintained that the 64-year-old's detention has been unjustified as Ghosn has not inflicted any losses on Nissan.

Ghosn's detention, extended after he was investigated on suspicion of committing breach of trust, is scheduled to end on January 11 and prosecutors by this time must make an ultimate decision as to whether or not to indict him over the multiple charges facing him.

The case, however, has brought into focus Japan's judiciary system and critics have pointed out that suspects can effectively be detained by prosecutors here indefinitely in pursuit of a confession, without being granted access to lawyers or visits from family members.

Nissan Motor Co CEO Hiroto Saikawa on Monday opted not to comment on Ghosn's appearance at the Tokyo District Court when asked by local media, stating instead that he is "anticipating a quite deep and wide recommendation from the committee set by Nissan to improve corporate governance" and is "ready to accept a fundamental change."

Saikawa was referring to the outcome of a third-party committee formed in December to improve Nissan's corporate governance. He indicated the changes would include a rise in the number of independent directors as well as a wholesale overview of the responsibilities of its chairman. (UNI)