Ghosn holds press conference: Japanese law violates human rights, believes it should not be arrested
Ghosn (middle) at the press conference on January 8
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Wen | Hu Wenjing
After successfully absconding and absconding a week ago, Ghosn, who had been freed, took the initiative to hit the spotlight on himself. The auto industry's former "myth" and now the "fugitive" in public opinion began to fight for its own reputation to win the support of public opinion.
Just as Ghosn released the news as early as the 2nd, at 9pm Beijing time on January 8th, Ghosn held the first press conference in Lebanon. In about two and a half hours, Ghosn released details of his arrest and the reason for his escape, but he declined to say how he left Japan. "Today I won't talk about how I left Japan, I will talk about why I left Japan. The facts are completely different from what Japan said."
This is also the first time Ghosn has faced the public in such a direct manner since his arrest in November 2018. On April 3, 2019, after his first bail, Ghosn announced that he would hold a press conference on the 11th, "telling the truth of what is happening." However, in the early morning of the 4th, Ghosn was arrested again, leaving only a video statement that was shot in advance.
Unlike the gangsters who had to disguise themselves as cleaners to avoid the media in the past year, Ghosn appeared in front of the camera this time, wearing a black suit and a white shirt with a red tie. After abruptly experiencing nearly half a year in prison and full-time monitoring during a half-year bail period, Ghosn, who still looks motivated, has begun to file a complaint against the encounter this year.
"It has been more than 400 days since I was brutally arrested," Ghosn said, "I am completely disconnected from my family, friends, and society. This has hurt my family and friends. Since November 2018 This is the first time I have been free since March, and these emotions are hard to say. "
"This is an organized conspiracy," Ghosn said. "Who organized the conspiracy? There are members of Nissan's board and the Japanese government. There are many people involved, including the Tokyo District Attorney, including several lawyers. So, AMW, they were appointed for me by the Japanese courts. "However, Ghosn said that because he did not want to cause trouble for the Lebanese government, he would not disclose the people of the Japanese government.
Ghosn's English readme went on for an hour. At about 22:10, Ghosn's emotions were hard to hide.
"Every day after my first arrest, I feel like this is my life. I feel dead and completely paralyzed. No matter what they do to me, I must bear it." Ghosn said he had been having nightmares for a while "When I left Japan, I felt like I was resurrected."
Ghosn said that the prosecution's postponement of the trial, coupled with his ban on communication with his wife, caused him to lose hope, and he was also afraid that he would not be able to see his beloved newlywed wife for a lifetime, so he forced himself to leave Japan.
"I think I made the right decision, and some decisions have to be made," according to Ghosn, fleeing Japan has no choice.
Full seat at the scene
"I really like creating impossible miracles. When I came to Japan before, many people didn't think I would succeed, but I also succeeded." Ghosn expressed confidence in restoring his reputation, "(So now I also Believe,) I can prove my innocence, I can get back on track. I will continue to fight, in the coming weeks, I will put together all the evidence to prove that I have contributed to the automotive industry, and that I am not a dictator . "
"Nissan is the mastermind behind"
"It's not my fault that Nissan went downhill"
On November 19, 2018, Ghosn was arrested at Tokyo Haneda Airport by the special search department of the Tokyo Local Prosecutor's Office, an incident that shocked the world. There have been rumors of Ghosn's arrest, but the truth is always confusing.
Ghosn recalled the scene at the meeting. "The whole world said that I was arrested on a plane. In fact, I was arrested after getting off the plane. The Tokyo Prosecutor's Office confiscated my mobile phone. I was very surprised."
With regard to why he was arrested, Ghosn pointed his finger directly at the former owner Nissan, thinking that Nissan was the mastermind. "I didn't know that Nissan was the mastermind behind it. In fact, prosecutors and Nissan had long had conspiracies. Their business was everywhere, and they said they were arrested because of my salary declaration problem."
There have been rumors that Ghosn's arrest was due to internal power struggles and a "coup" launched by some senior executives inside Nissan. Ghosn also named these people at the meeting, revealing the specific list of "coups" among Nissan's top executives.
The first in the list is the former CEO of Nissan Hirokawa Nishikawa. This former general of Ghosn has always been the object of public skepticism. After Ghosn's fall, Guangxi Nishikawa criticized Ghosn and blamed Ghosn for his poor performance in FY2018. In May 2019, Nishikawa Hiroto said at a press conference held in Yokohama's corporate headquarters, "Today we have bottomed out. Most of the problems we now face are the negative effects left by our former leaders."
The list also includes Toshiaki Onuma, a former senior executive of Nissan, Hari Nada, former head of legal affairs of Nissan, director of the Nissan Appointment Committee, Masakazu Toyoda, former head of the Ministry of Commerce of Japan, Hidetoshi Imazu, former internal audit of Nissan, external and government of Nissan Business executive Hitoshi Kawaguchi.
In Ghosn's view, he was framed by these people because, "Nissan doesn't want the French to point fingers, and the best way is to drive me away."
"I have been with Nissan for 17 years since 1999. I saved this company and made it a top six brand in the world, but they completely forgot." The former "savior" has repeatedly emphasized his Nissan's contribution criticizes Nissan's ingratitude.
In 1999, Nissan has been losing money for seven consecutive years, with a market share of only 4.9% and liabilities of up to 2.1 trillion yen. In the same year, the Nissan-Renault alliance was established. Renault holds 36.8% of Nissan's shares and is Nissan's largest shareholder. As a result, Ghosn, Renault's executive vice president, was sent to Japan to take on the heavy task of rebuilding Nissan.
Under the Nissan revival plan led by Ghosn, Nissan successfully turned a profit in the fiscal year of March 2001. Ghosn also became Nissan CEO in 2001. And with its performance at Nissan, it also gained a very high reputation in Japan, becoming the first foreign business leader to receive the Blue Emperor Chapter from Japan.
"I have done so much for Nissan, but now I am a cold-blooded and greedy dictator." Ghosn complained. "We have also initiated a counter-prosecution, and the counter-prosecution is still in progress. 0.6% filed a counter-prosecution, and the probability of success was zero. "
Since 2018, Nissan's performance has declined. Nissan's second fiscal quarter (July-September) showed that Nissan's sales worldwide fell by 7.5% to 1.27 million vehicles, and operating profit plummeted by 70%. And Nissan cut its full-year operating profit forecast for fiscal year 2019 by 35%, the lowest level in nearly 11 years. There has also been a huge change at the high-level, and Xichuan Guangren stepped down in September 2019 on suspicion of "obtaining improper finances."
Ghosn denied that Nissan had previously blamed the decline in performance on the confusion caused by his arrest and his "bad strategic decision", saying it was Nishikawa's own incompetence.
"It's not my fault that Nissan is downhill. When Xiren Guangren is in charge of a new group, he should be able to deal with it. I have never criticized my predecessor. The pressure from the French government caused Nissan to lose Renault's voting rights, which caused The rift between the two sides, and the inability of people to put the problem on my head, makes me unbalanced and unequal. "
"I regret it a bit. I offended some people at Nissan," Ghosn said. "But I don't regret living in Japan. The Japanese people are still very good to me."
But Nissan is still tough on Ghosn. On the 7th day before the press conference, Nissan Motors issued a statement on its official website, stating that Nissan had discovered many misconducts by Ghosn through strong and thorough internal investigations, and the evidence was solid.
The statement said Ghosn's flight would not affect Nissan's accountability for its responsibilities. Nissan will continue to take appropriate legal action to investigate the damage caused by Ghosn's misconduct. "Nissan will cooperate with the judicial and regulatory authorities when necessary to continue to do the right thing."
On January 7, Nissan's official website update statement
However, Ghosn France's legal team subsequently refuted the content of Nissan's statement. It said that Nissan called the internal investigation "a serious distortion of the facts." Counsel submits that the investigations themselves were "specially initiated to prevent Ghosn from further integrating Nissan and Renault, and to bring Ghosn down."
Nissan has "never once" tried to interview Ghosn, and has never synchronized with Ghosn's evidence that Nissan collected against him. The team of lawyers said, "This investigation is definitely not to find the so-called 'truth'."
Ghosn's legal team also questioned the independence of the executive and legal teams in the investigation team. First, Hari Nada, a Nissan executive who conducted an internal investigation of Ghosn, "is also under investigation"; second, Latham & Watkins, a law firm that assists Nissan investigations, has long been Nissan's external law Consultants are not independent agencies.
"Not above the law"
Japanese justice system is "unjust"
On December 31st, local time in Japan after the flight, Ghosn criticized the Japanese judicial system through an e-mail, stating that he did not evade justice, but "freed himself from injustice and political persecution."
At the conference, Ghosn reiterated that he was not a "fugitive."
"Japan ’s judicial system lacks a sense of judicial justice, and the allegations they make are without evidence. The system they are suing is entirely filed by individuals, which has tarnished the Japanese judicial system and subverted the image of Japanese law," Ghosn said, "I have suffered a lot in the past 14 months. I will not be above the law. I want to justify my reputation, I want to escape the system of injustice, and I hope to have a fair and free trial in the future."
Ghosn said that from the first day, he was put in a single cell after being detained for 24 hours. "This is a human rights violation." Ghosn added, "They keep delaying time, they detain me, they keep reviewing the documents, they spend 14 months persecuting me, and the content of the prosecution is stigmatizing and not rigorous at all."
Since his first arrest in November 2018, Ghosn has been arrested four times before and after. At the press conference, Ghosn revealed his specific experience after his arrest:
"I was locked up in a cell and no one spoke English or French," Ghosn said, during the first detention, he had no free time every week, only 30 minutes of air time every day, and fewer weekends. Interrogations will be held late, but lawyers are not present. Prosecutors said from the beginning, "Don't play tricks, just confess early."
During the second detention, Ghosn stated that prosecutors said he did not want him to communicate with the media and that they would not allow him to make any statements, otherwise they would have more crimes to be charged.
It is reported that after several additional indictments, Ghosn is currently facing four serious allegations, including underreporting of revenue (FY2010-2014), underreporting of foreign exchange transactions, misappropriation of public funds (1.85 billion yen) and companies controlled by it Transfer of funds belonging to Nissan ($ 5 million).
But Ghosn has consistently denied all allegations. At the conference, Ghosn also responded specifically to the current allegations:
Regarding the allegations of underreported income , Ghosn said that foreign directors hope to be able to pay through exchange rate contracts, which will not bring additional costs to the company and will not cause losses to the company. "We have a contract Many managers in Nissan have signed such contracts. "
Ghosn also revealed that he once rejected the invitation to join GM, saying "GM's job is much easier than mine, because my job is to manage 3 companies, and I have such a high income to deserve it."
Ghosn has argued that he could arbitrarily dispose of the CEO's reserve fund as "unreasonable." He said that every sum of money taken from the CEO's reserve will go through the process after it is signed, and many leaders will sign, "if everyone agrees with the budget, they can pay."
Regarding the unreasonable expenditure of hosting the 15th anniversary party in Versailles , it said that because it has already funded 1 million euros for Versailles, Versailles expressed its gratitude for "free use for us". Ghosn also denied bribing Omani's dealers, saying that the incentives given to the dealers were reasonable.
In response to Ghosn 's allegations that there are many properties around the world , Ghosn said it was actually Nissan property. "This is not held in secret. It is signed by the company's executives, and it has the legal and financial signatures in the name of the company."
Earlier, the Wall Street Journal reported that if all the charges he faces are valid, Ghosn will face up to 15 years in prison. It is understood that under the "hostage justice" system, the Japanese judicial system has a very high conviction rate. The report also said that Ghosn's chance of being convicted is almost 100%. This also means that Ghosn is in jail almost It's just a matter of time. Considering that Ghosn is about to turn 66, he is basically going to spend the rest of his life in prison.
"This (escape) was the toughest decision of my life, but the Japanese judicial system's conviction rate is as high as 99.4%," said Ghosn. "If I continue to stay in Japan, I may die in Japan, I feel I look like a hostage. "
Ghosn said, "In Japan, I have no chance to prove my innocence. The place where I seek innocence trials must not be Japan. Lebanon, France, and Brazil will not extradite my citizens, and I may be fair in all three countries. Trial. "
Q & A session with reporters
However, regarding Ghosn's previous recognition of Japanese judicial injustice, the Japanese Minister of Justice Moriko said on January 5 that the Japanese judicial system protects basic human rights and the procedures are proper, "the suspect escaped during bail and could not be justified."
After the first statement, the Japanese government stepped up its counterattack. On January 7, a Tokyo court issued arrest warrants against Ghosn's wife, Carroll Nahas, on suspicion of perjury. But in Carol's view, this is just the Japanese authorities trying to put pressure on their husbands.
According to Reuters, a senior official of the Japanese Ministry of Justice said that the Ministry of Justice is studying Lebanese law to find a way to bring Ghosn back to Japan, and Japan "will do everything in its power" to bring him to court. Currently, there is no extradition treaty between Lebanon and Japan, and Lebanon is in political turmoil, and its citizens are usually not extradited.
The latest news is that late on the 8th night after the press conference, the Japanese prosecutors quickly issued a statement to fight back, saying that Ghosn's allegations that the prosecutors colluded with Nissan were wrong.
"Ghosn's way of escaping Japan is a crime in itself. His statement at today's press conference failed to justify his actions." The Tokyo District Attorney General said.
"The French government abandoned me"
The "neutral" of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance
After his arrest, Ghosn was not supported by either side of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, becoming an "outsider" of the automobile empire he had built.
After being expelled from Nissan and Mitsubishi, Renault held a board meeting saying "Ghosn resigned from Renault." In response, Ghosn expressed his dissatisfaction with the French government, a major shareholder holding 15% of Renault, "I did not resign from Renault, but asked for early retirement , but they fired me during my detention. "
In the past year, although Ghosn's wife has travelled to France to lobby, the French government has not expressed any support. "If you have experienced it, you must think you have been abandoned, they have no voice, and I hope they have not abandoned me ," Ghosn responded to the attitude of the French government.
"I'm a French citizen like anyone. I don't ask to be treated better than others, and I shouldn't be treated worse," said the executive, who has French, Lebanese, and Brazilian citizenship.
After Ghosn stepped down, the impact of his arrest on the alliance did not disappear. There was an atmosphere of distrust between Renault and Nissan, and the partnership almost broke down at one point.
The source of the tension between the two companies is the cross-shareholding structure of Renault and Nissan, that is, Renault holds 43.4% of Nissan's shares, and Nissan only holds 15% of Renault's non-voting shares.
This imbalance in shareholding structure has become increasingly prominent as the strength of the two companies has changed. Nissan, which got rid of losses, realized a larger scale and better profit performance than Renault. Contribution to the alliance is greater, but the right to speak is not high. This inequality has caused Nissan to begin to seek more control in the alliance, including increasing its stake in Renault.
Ghosn said that a major reason why the Renault-Nissan alliance has reached today is that French President Macron had advocated the merger of Nissan and Renault in 2015 when he was the Minister of Economy and raised the French government's stake in Renault to 19.7% To improve your voice.
This shocked Nissan and the Japanese government, making them worried that Nissan would fall into French control. Ghosn added, "Some of our Japanese colleagues believe that the only way to get rid of Renault's impact on Nissan is to get rid of me." "Unfortunately, they are right."
Different from previous rumors that Ghosn has been actively promoting the merger of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi, Ghosn proposed that in fact, he holds a neutral point of view, "I want to eliminate the idea of Japanese independence as much as possible and soften the French Merged ideas. "
The internal fighting has negatively affected the stock prices of the two companies. Currently, Nissan's stock price is at its lowest level since 2001, while Renault's stock price has fallen to its lowest point in seven years. The performance of both companies also declined.
In order to save costs and jointly cope with the pressure of new technology investment, it has become a trend for car companies to seek alliance cooperation. On October 31, 2019, PSA and FCA also officially announced their merger to become the fourth largest automotive alliance in the world. In this context, Nissan and Renault began repairing relations last year.
The repair is reflected in personnel changes. Since the second half of 2019, the top management of both companies has undergone tremendous changes. Nishikawa was forced to step down, replaced by Uchida, who is closely related to Renault, who also expelled Ghosn's follower Thierry Bollore in mid-October.
But in Ghosn's view, "it's all going backwards now."
"I was very clear about the future strategies of the three companies. Now that the alliance has disintegrated and profits have fallen, I see that they have lost a lot of opportunities. I ca n’t believe it. " Ghosn expressed the status of the alliance. Questioned, "They said they wanted to turn Ghosn's time. Indeed, the fact now is that these three brands have no future."
In fact, before the merger of PSA and FCA, FCA proactively threw an olive branch to Renault. Ghosn stated that he was connected with FCA and " has a better understanding and dialogue with each other," but " before the end of negotiations Arrested, the negotiations between us have not reached the final stage . "
In Ghosn's view, Renault and Nissan missed the opportunity to be among the top companies in the industry. "It's incredible that the league missed the unmissable FCA," Qi asked, "how can I miss the huge opportunity to become the industry leader?" "Who is the winner of all this?"
"This is a great opportunity for PSA, but a huge waste for Renault." Ghosn said.