Carlos Ghosn said Nissan executives opposed to his plans for closer ties with automaking partner Renault SA resorted to "plot and treason" to disrupt them and were behind the financial misconduct allegations against him.
Under Ghosn's plan, the three automakers would have united under one holding company, but would have been allowed to enjoy "autonomy" similar to the present situation. The plans had been discussed with Nissan President Hiroto Saikawa in September, he added.
But the French government's desire to hold more influence over Nissan, of which Renault holds a 43.4 percent stake with voting rights, is at odds with the Japanese automaker's insistence on maintaining its independence. Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi has beaten Volkswagen in the light vehicles segment that includes passenger cars and light commercial vehicles by selling 10.76 million vehicles in 2018.
He also is accused of making an £11.6m payment to a Saudi businessman for a letter of credit to help him with the investment losses.More news: Canada reduces staff in Cuba after another diplomat suffers ‘unusual health symptoms’
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Speaking to the Nikkei newspaper in his first media interview since his arrest on November 19, Ghosn said he had discussed plans to integrate the companies with Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa in September.
A Nissan spokesman said: 'Nissan's investigation uncovered substantial and convincing evidence of misconduct, resulting in a unanimous board vote to dismiss Ghosn and [Greg] Kelly as chairman and representative director. He denied the accusations and claimed "the executive in charge of the region signed [the approval]".
Asked about his conditions in the detention centre, Ghosn replied that the situation was "up and down" but said his health was "fine".
Ghosn's second bail request was rejected on January 22, with prosecutors fearing that he might tamper with evidence or possibly flee.
He said that Nissan's legal department had signed off on the purchase of luxury properties for him in Brazil and Lebanon - which Nissan claims were paid for improperly. His detention after stepping off a plane at Tokyo's Haneda airport jolted the world's biggest auto alliance, raising questions about whether the decades-long partnership will survive his downfall.
Mr Ghosn said he had "no doubt" that the charges against him were motivated by Nissan executives.