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Nissan's former chair Ghosn says he was victim of 'backstabbing' in video address

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Nissan's former chair Ghosn says he was victim of 'backstabbing' in video address
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REUTERS
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Disgraced former Nissan Motor boss Carlos Ghosn has maintained his innocence and accused some of the company’s executives of conspiring against him in his first public appearance since his arrest last year.

Ghosn faces three separate charges. The first two are in connection with under-reporting his income in financial documents and the third relates to his alleged attempt to transfer personal losses to Nissan and making suspect payments to a Saudi businessman.

Last week, Tokyo prosecutors decided to re-arrest Ghosn — who was released on a nine million dollar bail (€8 million) — sending him back to the detention centre where he previously spent more than 100 days. The latest arrest was in connection with new allegations that five million dollars (€4,452,600) sent by a Nissan subsidiary meant for an Oman dealership was diverted to a company controlled by Ghosn. This could be more serious as it could show that he used company funds for his own purposes.

On Monday, Nissan shareholders decided to remove Ghosn from the board.

"This is a conspiracy ... this is not about greed or dictatorship, this is about a plot, this about a conspiracy, this is about a backstabbing," said the former boss.

In the video screened by his lawyers on Tuesday, Ghosn who wore a dark blazer and a white shirt said the conspiracy was born out of fear of an expanded alliance with partner Renault SA.

"There was fear that the next step of the alliance in terms of convergence and in terms of moving towards a merger, would in a certain way threaten some people or eventually threaten the autonomy of Nissan," he said.

Ghosn's lawyer Junichiro Hironaka said that the latest arrest was to "apply pressure" upon his client and that prosecutors were taking "cruel steps" to push Ghosn into "incriminating himself into a confession."