On 4 January 2019, Carlos Ghosn’s son Anthony speaks out about Human Rights Watch’s scathing criticism of his father’s detention conditions in Japan.
In French newspaper JDD, Anthony sets out how prosecutors interrogate Carlos Ghosn every day, that he lost nearly 10 kilos and that his father cannot access his file. And prosecutors attempt to make him sign confessions in Japanese, when he does not speak the language. He also explains that he is not able to contact his father.
In Asia, on the same day, José Muñoz, one of the executives closest to Carlos Ghosn, resigns from Nissan. His departure only becomes official a few days later and marks the start of an unprecedented management shake-up at the Japanese carmaker [link to October page].
A few hours later, a forthcoming appearance by Carlos Ghosn at the Tokyo court is confirmed. A few days before, his lawyers had invoked article 34 of the Japanese Constitution which grants detainees the right to be informed directly and in a public hearing of the reasons for their detention. The judge accepted the request.
Thus, on 8 January 2019, after being held for nearly two months since his orchestrated arrest at Tokyo Haneda airport, Carlos Ghosn enters Tokyo’s district court handcuffed and on a leash. This shocking image causes disbelief in the international community. For the first time, he is able to proclaim his innocence, having resisted the pressure from prosecutors seeking to extract a confession over several months.
In a reasoned statement that he read to Judge Yuichi Tada, Carlos Ghosn made the following points.
“In the work I delivered, I am convinced always to have acted with honour, honesty, within the law, and with the approval of the relevant company directors, and for the sole purpose of supporting and strengthening Nissan and of helping the company find its place once more amongst the most respected companies in Japan. I am innocent of the accusations levelled against me. I always acted with integrity and I have never faced accusations of impropriety in my long career spanning several decades. I have been falsely accused and unjustly detained, on the basis of groundless accusations.”
Point by point, Carlos Ghosn explains that he has not received any undeclared compensation or that Nissan has not suffered any loss in relation to the charge regarding SWAP contracts in his compensation.
Following this statement, the defense lawyers request his release. The judge expresses doubts, as he considers that there is a risk that Mr Ghosn may abscond or destroy evidence by contacting a powerful international network.
One of his lawyers, Go Kondo, argued against this position at length, even putting forward the French State’s guarantee that Carlos Ghosn will comply with each summons. The decision on this request comes a few days later, in the form of a refusal.