Carlos Ghosn says charges against him are a 'conspiracy'
The former head of Nissan says that he is innocent, in his first on-camera appearance since his arrest, of all charges and accusations around them made against him
Footage courtesy of Carlos Ghosn's legal team. Edited by Trixia Abao
If you are listening to me through this video today, it means that I was not able to make the press conference that I planned for April the 11th. But I wanted to tell you the essence of the message that I wanted to develop on April the 11th, and hopefully answer so many questions that I'm sure you have on your mind.
The first message is I'm innocent. It's not new. You have heard it from me in January. I repeat it today. I'm innocent of all the charges that have been brought against me. And I'm also innocent of all the accusation that came around these charges that are all biassed, taken out of context, twisted in a way to paint a personage of greed and the personage of dictatorship. But let's talk about the charges.
The FIEL, the contract with Shinsei Bank, and the competition we paid to Juffali, I remain on the same position. I spent 108 days in prison, because I've been always consistent with this position that I was innocent of all the charges. The second message I want to send to you is the fact that I love Japan, and I love Nissan.
Nobody spends 20 years in a country. Nobody work 20 years in the leadership of a company without love, and without attachment, and without engagement, particularly when these years have been marked by so many accomplishments, and so much result. I came to Japan in 1999, not by calculation. I came to Japan in 1999, because I was fascinated with the company, and I was fascinated by the challenge of reviving Nissan.
And you know very well that I committed since the beginning all my career to the success of the Nissan revival plan. And thanks to the hard work of the hundreds of thousands people working in Nissan, and particularly the Japanese people working in Nissan, we have been successful. But my love for Japan and my love for Nissan is untainted today after all the ordeal I've been through.
I want you to know that. I want you to be convinced of that. We've done many things in Nissan I'm proud of. We have also contributed to the economy of Japan to the development of the management in Japan. All of the things will remain as great memories and great achievement. That I'm sure after all the last months as in a certain way, people will look at them with more fairness and more objectivity.
The third point I want to tell you that this is a conspiracy. This is not about specific events. This is not about again greed. This is not about dictatorship. This is about a plot. This is about conspiracies. This is about backstabbing. That's what we're talking about.
And why? So you can say why this happened? Why it's happened because that there was first fear that the next step of the lines in term of convergence and in terms moving toward a merger would in a certain way threaten some people or eventually threaten the autonomy of Nissan, which by the way, has never been threatened for the last 19 years when the alliance was created.
I've been the fiercest defender of the autonomy of Nissan. And I made it very clear that no matter what other steps in the future, this would continue. But this autonomy must be based on performance. Nobody get autonomy for the sake of autonomy. People get autonomy, because they can be more performant with autonomy, and that was where the fear came, because the performance of Nissan is not good.
It has degraded it a lot. Three profit warning in a couple of years, many scandals. Not the fact that bad things happen at the level of the company, but the fact that when you react to the bad things happening in your company, you must be trusted. And in this case, in many cases, it could not be trusted, because the company said problem were fixed where they were not fixed.
This is where we had the problem with the actual management of the company, so these people are known. I have a lot of respect for Nissan employees. I'm talking here about the few executives who, obviously for their own interests and for their own selfish fears, are creating a lot of value destruction. Names, you know them.
We're talking about people who really played a very dirty game into what's happening. But hopefully, the truth will happen, and the facts will happen. But at the end of the day during all this period, I suffered not only because of my case, but who was taking care of Nissan? Who was taking care of the brand? Who was defending corporate value? Who was defending the shareholder interest?
When you look at the decline of the share, when you look at the absolutely mediocre performance of the company where people are proud to say we're not going to do this. We're not going to do that. But at the same time, they don't tell you what we are going to do. What is the vision for the future? What is the vision to enhance the performance of Nissan? What's the vision to enhance the alliance into the future?
This becomes very sad. And obviously for somebody like me, it's sickening. For somebody who has dedicated 19, 20 years to do the contrary, which is create the corporate value, enhance the brand, seeing the lack season and the lack of attention is really very difficult to take. I'm worried.
I'm worried because obviously the performance of Nissan is declining. But also I'm worried because I don't think that there is any vision for the lines being built. Frankly, sitting down there on the table being consensual about decision, this is not a vision for something in an industry, which is as competitive as the car industry.
You need to show the future. You need to just make sure about what is our role into the future. You need to make sure that from time to time leadership is exercised. And leadership means we do what's good for the company, not for what you are capable to agree on. This is not dictatorship. This is leadership.
It's exercised in many company. And for people who say, well, there is only two options, consensus or dictatorship, that means they don't know what leadership is about. And this is very sad at the head of an organisation as complex and as large as other lines can be or as Nissan can be. Finally, what I would like to say is my big hope, my biggest wish is to have a fair trial.
I am privileged to have three competent lawyers around me who's going to defend the case. But they don't share with me a lot of serenity about the fairness of the trial. I'm not a lawyer. I'm not competent in this matter, but I will leave it to them to explain to you what are the specific conditions that are required to ensure a fair trial that I can be hopefully vindicated.
Thank you for your attention. And I'm sorry I was not able to share more with you and respond to many questions that you have in your mind. But hopefully, we will do it at a certain point in time.