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Carlos Ghosn says arrest was plot to oust him as head of Nissan

By Charlotte Ricca

Ghosn told reporters he "did not escape justice", but "fled injustice and persecution"

Carlos Ghosn API

Carlos Ghosn has held his first press conference since escaping from Japan - accusing of the country's authorities of conspiring with Nissan to oust him as head of the automaker.

The ex-Nissan chief started his press conference at 3pm local time in Beirut, in front of a huge crowd of reporters and cameras. Ghosn’s Lebanese lawyer Carlos Abou Jaoude, was also with him.

“The charges against me are baseless,” said Ghosn, who declined to name the Japanese government officials involved.

Ghosn told reporters he "did not escape justice", but "fled injustice and persecution".

“Having endured more than 400 days on inhumane treatment designed to break me and designed to not provide me justice,” he said. “ I [had] no other choice than to protect me and my family."

Ghosn fled to Lebanon from Japan on December 29 after he was accused of under-reporting his salary and misusing company assets.

“This was the most difficult decision of my life,” he said. “But let us not forget that I was facing a system where the conviction rate is 99.4 per cent and I will bet you this number is much higher for the foreigners.”

Ghosn claims his arrest was part of a plot to oust him from the automotive empire he built between Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi Motors.

"Unfortunately there was no trust, and some of our Japanese friends thought that the only way to get rid of the influence of Renault on Nissan [was] to get rid of me," Ghosn said.

Ghosn also talked about how Nissan-Renault has failed to seize the “unmissable” opportunity of a tie up with Fiat-Chrysler, and how the company has suffered since his departure.

Since Ghosn’s arrest, Nissan reported a 70 per cent profit slump.

“The market cap decrease of Nissan since my arrest is more than $10bn” (£7.6bn, €8.9bn) said Ghosn. “They lost more than $40m a day during all of this. The market cap of Renault went down since my arrest by €5bn.”

“They turned the wrong page because there is no more profit, there is no more growth, there is no more strategic initiative, no more technology, no more alliance. What we see today is a masquerade of an alliance.”

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