Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 July 2019

Former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn says he's ready to 'tell the truth'

Fallen car chief takes to Twitter to announce that his first briefing since being released on bail will take place at a news conference next week

Ex-Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn says he's ready to 'tell the truth'. AP
Ex-Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn says he's ready to 'tell the truth'. AP

Ousted Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn has promised to "tell the truth" at a news conference next week, taking to Twitter to announce his first briefing since being released on bail and hours after a report that prosecutors were preparing a fresh case against him.

Mr Ghosn, widely lauded for rescuing Nissan from the brink of bankruptcy two decades ago, has experienced a dramatic fall from grace that shook the global car industry and raised questions about the future of Nissan's alliance with France's Renault, Reuters said.

He was arrested in Tokyo in November and faces charges of financial misconduct and aggravated breach of trust over allegedly failing to report around $82 million in salary and temporarily transferring personal financial losses onto Nissan's books during the financial crisis.

Mr Ghosn has denied the charges, calling them "meritless" and saying he was the victim of a boardroom coup.

If confirmed, the press conference would be the first time Mr Ghosn has addressed the media since his surprise release on $9m bail on March 11, According to Agence France-Presse.

"I'm getting ready to tell the truth about what's happening. Press conference on Thursday, April 11," he tweeted from the @carlosghosn account, which displayed the blue tick mark indicating it is a verified Twitter handle.

It was the sole tweet, posted in Japanese and English.

Under the terms of Mr Ghosn's bail he is not allowed to use the internet, although the tweet may have been made on his behalf, as is common with celebrities and other high-profile figures.

Representatives for Mr Ghosn could not be reached for comment about the tweet.

The former car executive had never tweeted from a personal account until Wednesday, Bloomberg said. The account says he joined in April.

Earlier, Japan's Yomiuri newspaper reported that Tokyo prosecutors are preparing to build a fresh case against him over suspect payments the car company made to a business partner in Oman.

Prosecutors are in discussions with the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office and others and plan to make a decision soon on whether to prosecute Mr Ghosn on further charges of aggravated breach of trust, the newspaper said, citing sources involved in the case.

A spokesman for the Tokyo prosecutors office said he was not aware of any new investigation when contacted by Reuters.

Mr Ghosn's spokesman has previously said payments of $32m made over nine years were rewards for the Oman firm being a top Nissan dealer. Such dealer incentives were not directed by Mr Ghosn and the funds were not used to pay any personal debt, the spokesman said.

Sources told Reuters earlier this week that Renault had alerted French prosecutors after uncovering suspect payments to a Renault-Nissan business partner in Oman while Ghosn was chief executive of the French car maker.

Nissan had previously established that its own regional subsidiary had made questionable payments of more than $30 million to the Oman distributor, Suhail Bahwan Automobiles (SBA).

Evidence sent to French prosecutors last week showed that much of the cash was subsequently channelled to a Lebanese company controlled by Mr Ghosn associates, the sources said.

Reuters has not been able to reach SBA for comment on the matter.

Updated: April 3, 2019 04:12 PM