Ghosn still in 'very difficult' conditions in Japan cell - lawyer

Ghosn still in 'very difficult' conditions in Japan cell - lawyer

Ghosn still in 'very difficult' conditions in Japan cell - lawyer

In an interview with The Nikkei business daily posted online Wednesday, Ghosn says there is "no doubt" that "plot and treason" were committed by Nissan executives determined to throw off a plan of deeper integration between Nissan and two other vehicle companies.

In his first interview since his arrest in November, Mr Ghosn told Japanese newspaper Nikkei that he believed executives at Nissan were behind the financial misconduct allegations against him - all of which he denies.

He told Nikkei he discussed a plan to integrate Nissan with Renault and their smaller alliance partner Mitsubishi Motors with Hiroto Saikawa, Nissan's chief executive, in September.

Nikkei said it interviewed Ghosn for about 20 minutes at the jail. He was charged with underreporting his salary over several years, and aggravated breach of trust for allegedly using Nissan to shoulder his personal trading losses from foreign exchange contracts. Once the three automakers were more closely integrated, Ghosn wanted to ensure there would be "autonomy under one holding company", he said, adding that this plan was in line with how he had operated the alliance in past years.

But Ghosn rejected the characterisation of his tenure as a "dictatorship". The payment was made from Ghosn's "CEO reserve", a pot of money that he was free to decide how to spend.

Separately, Nissan Motor Company said its global sales totalled 5.65 million vehicles a year ago, while Renault SA of France, which owns 43% of Nissan, recorded global sales of 3.9 million vehicles. Pointing to a former loyalist and long-time executive in the legal department, Ghosn said: "Hari Nada has done all this".

He also denied any wrongdoing in buying expensive homes in Brazil and Lebanon, saying he needed a safe place to work and meet with people.

Ghosn's lawyers have failed to get bail due to the court's concerns he would be a flight risk and also possibly try to hide or destroy evidence. 'All the evidence is with Nissan, and Nissan forbids all employees to talk to me'.

His arrest has clouded the outlook for closer ties between Nissan and Renault, along with Mitsubishi Motors Corp., the third member of the automaking alliance. 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. The French government is the most powerful shareholder in Renault. "I can not speculate about the future of the alliance", Ghosn said.

Asked about his life in the detention center, he said "there is up and down" and that he is "doing fine" in terms of health.

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