Prosecutors suspect Ghosn of under-reporting his income by tens of millions of dollars and transferring personal investment losses to Nissan.
Ghosn’s version of events
Speaking in court, Ghosn said he had “always acted honorably and legally” and with the knowledge and approval of the appropriate executives inside the company.
Ghosn expressed “love and appreciation for Nissan,” telling the court: “I have dedicated two decades of my life to reviving Nissan. I worked on these goals day and night.”
According to a written version of his remarks that was issued via a representative before Tuesday’s proceedings, Ghosn insisted he had been “unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated accusations.”
His appearance generated significant public interest, with hundreds of reporters lining up for just a handful of seats inside the court. No photography is permitted during proceedings.
Judge says Ghosn is a flight risk
A judge at Tokyo’s District Court said Tuesday that keeping Ghosn in jail during the investigation was justified because he posed a flight risk.
In his remarks, Ghosn denied the allegations of under-reporting his income, saying that he “never received any compensation from Nissan that was not disclosed.”
He said that the foreign-exhange contracts that he temporarily transferred to Nissan in 2008 during the height of the financial crisis didn’t result in any loss for the company.
‘The conditions are not very good’
Ahead of Ghosn’s appearance in court, his son spoke out in the French media about his father’s situation.
Anthony Ghosn told French newspaper Journal du Dimanche in an interview published Sunday that his father had lost 22 pounds “because he’s eating three bowls of rice a day. The conditions are not very good.”
“Every day when he wakes up in the detention center, he can tell the prosecutor that he challenges the accusations against him, or on the contrary, he can confess and be released,” Anthony Ghosn told the French weekly newspaper. “For seven weeks, his decision has been quite clear. … He will not give up.”
“They’ll only let him out on the condition he confesses,” Anthony Ghosn told Journal du Dimanche. “He [Carlos Ghosn] doesn’t speak Japanese and the paradox is that the confession they want him to sign is written exclusively in Japanese.”
Nissan has said the alleged misconduct was first brought to its attention by a whistleblower. An internal investigation uncovered serious problems, according to the company, which led it to alert authorities in Japan.
Greg Kelly, the former Nissan director accused of helping Ghosn under-report his income, was released from jail in Japan on Christmas Day after being granted bail.
Kelly denies any wrongdoing. His wife said he had been wrongly accused as part of a power grab by Nissan executives targeting Ghosn — an allegation Nissan disputes.
Mark Thompson, Saskya Vandoorne, Ivana Kottasová, Kaori Enjoji and Eugenie Lambert contributed reporting.