Jailed former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn says he's the innocent victim of treacherous rivals at the company. In an interview with Nikkei Asian Review—his first since his Nov. 19 arrest—Ghosn said he is certain the financial misconduct charges against him are the result of "plot and treason" by Nissan execs opposed to his plan for closer integration with alliance partners Renault and Mitsubishi Motors. Ghosn, who was interviewed in the Tokyo Detention Center, said his plan involved "autonomy under one holding company" after the automakers were integrated. He said he shared his plans with Nissan chief executive Hiroto Saikawa in September.
"People translated strong leadership to dictator, to distort reality" for the "purpose of getting rid of me," said Ghosn, who was dismissed as chairman of Nissan and Mitsubishi after his arrest and stepped down as chairman and CEO of Renault earlier this month. The 64-year-old, who is accused of under-reporting his income, among other violations, said the alleged misconduct was approved by the company's legal department. Ghosn's relatives have said they believe Saikawa orchestrated a coup to topple him, the New York Times notes. Nissan spokesman Nicholas Maxfield, however, says the "sole cause of this chain of events is the misconduct" led by Ghosn and associate Greg Kelly, the AP reports. (Ghosn, who has been in jail for more than 70 days, has offered to pay for his own ankle bracelet if he is released on bail.)