Ghosn accuses Nissan executives of ‘backstabbing’ plot

Journalists look on as a video of former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn is played during a press conference on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 09 April 2019
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Ghosn accuses Nissan executives of ‘backstabbing’ plot

  • The video was recorded shortly before Ghosn was rearrested last week on new allegations
  • A court has extended his detention until April 14

TOKYO: Carlos Ghosn has accused “backstabbing” Nissan executives of a “conspiracy” that led to his arrest, in a video revealed Tuesday by his representatives.
The video was recorded shortly before Ghosn was rearrested last week by prosecutors in Tokyo on new allegations. He had been out on bail while facing three charges of financial misconduct.
In the brief video, played by his lawyers at a press conference, Ghosn repeated that he was “innocent of all the charges that have been brought against me.”
He denounced a “conspiracy” against him and said events had been “twisted in a way to paint a personage of greed, a personage of dictatorship.”
“This is about a plot, this is about conspiracy, this is about backstabbing,” he said in the video.
Ghosn did not however name specific individuals at Nissan, with his lawyer saying that the defense team had opted to cut parts of the recording that pointed the finger at particular figures.
Ghosn was rearrested by prosecutors last week while out on bail in Tokyo after they announced they were investigating new allegations against him.
A court has extended his detention until April 14, when prosecutors can apply to hold him for an additional 10 days before they must release him unless they bring charges or file new allegations.
Prosecutors said Ghosn had been detained over transfers of Nissan funds totaling $15 million between late 2015 and the middle of 2018 to a dealership in Oman.
They suspect around $5 million of these funds were siphoned off for Ghosn’s use, including for the purchase of a luxury yacht and financing personal investments.
Prosecutors accuse Ghosn of having “betrayed” his duty not to cause losses to Nissan “in order to benefit himself.”
Ghosn already faces three formal charges: two of deferring his salary and concealing that in official shareholders’ documents, and a further charge of seeking to shift investment losses to the firm.
Ghosn’s case has defied expectations from the start, with his shock November 19 arrest after he landed in Tokyo on a private jet.
He spent 108 days in a detention center in northern Tokyo before being dramatically released on bail of around $9 million on March 6, emerging from incarceration dressed in a workman’s uniform and face mask in an apparent bid to avoid the media.
He then lived in a court-appointed apartment in Tokyo without commenting on his situation despite huge international and Japanese media interest in his case that has shocked and surprised from the beginning.
However, just as reports began to surface that he could be rearrested, Ghosn emerged on Twitter to announce plans to hold a news conference on April 11.
His rearrest came just days after news that Renault, which Ghosn also once headed, had handed French prosecutors documents showing suspicious transfers worth millions of euros authorized by the auto tycoon.
Shortly after his arrest, his wife Carole — who had been living in Tokyo with Ghosn while he was on bail — left Japan.
She told a French newspaper she had been forced to flee Tokyo with support from the French ambassador and was able to use her US passport after having to surrender her Lebanese one to prosecutors.


Gulf countries strengthen oil coordination amid tensions: Kuwait

Updated 20 May 2019
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Gulf countries strengthen oil coordination amid tensions: Kuwait

  • ‘It is normal amid this escalation that Kuwait and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries take these steps’
  • Kuwait was in ‘constant contact’ with its ally, the US

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait’s deputy foreign minister said countries in the Gulf have strengthened coordination to provide oil to global markets amid increased regional tensions.
“It is normal amid this escalation that Kuwait and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries take these steps,” Khalid Al-Jarallah told reporters late Sunday on the sidelines of a Ramadan sit-down organized by the Iraqi embassy.
“There is cooperation and coordination between Kuwait and the Gulf countries to provide guarantees for oil tankers and continuous supply of energy to global markets.”
Jarallah’s comments come days after sabotage attacks against tankers in highly sensitive Gulf waters and the bombing of a Saudi pipeline — the latter claimed by Iran-aligned Yemeni rebels.
Both attacks targeted routes built as alternatives to the Strait of Hormuz, the conduit for almost all Gulf exports.
The US Fifth Fleet headquartered in Bahrain said the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council began “enhanced security patrols” Saturday in international waters, in “tight coordination with the US navy.”
Iran has repeatedly threatened to close the strait in case of war with the United States, which earlier this month announced it was sending an aircraft carrier and strike group to the region.
Kuwait’s deputy foreign minister said “tension was escalating quickly” but he remained hopeful.
He added Kuwait was in “constant contact” with its ally, the US.
On Saturday, OPEC giant Saudi Arabia called for urgent meetings of the GCC and the Arab League to discuss recent “aggressions and their consequences” in the region.
The two summits are scheduled to be held in Makkah on May 30.
Jarallah welcomed the kingdom’s invitation, saying Kuwait was keen to take part in discussions on issues “potentially dangerous” to the region.