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.


India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

Updated 19 April 2019
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India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

  • Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries
  • India said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency”

NEW DELHI: India has suspended trade across its disputed Kashmir border with Pakistan, alleging that weapons and drugs are being smuggled across the route, as tensions simmer between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries and brought the two countries to the brink of war with cross-border air strikes.
On Thursday, India’s government, which is in the middle of a tough national election, said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency.”
It also said many of those trading across the Line of Control, which divides Kashmir into zones under Indian and Pakistani control, had links to militant organizations.
The home ministry said trade would be suspended until a stricter inspection mechanism is in place.
The cross-border trade is based on a barter system, with traders exchanging goods including chillies, cumin, mango and dried fruit.
It began in 2008 as a way to improve strained relations between New Delhi and Islamabad, who have fought two of their three wars over the disputed region.
The Indian Express newspaper said Friday that 35 trucks carrying fruit traveling from the Indian side of the border had been stopped after the government order.
Trade on the border has been suspended before, including in 2015, when India accused a Pakistani driver of drug trafficking.
The latest move comes after India withdrew “Most Favoured Nation Status” — covering trade links — from Pakistan after the February attack, which was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed Islamist group.
Islamabad has denied any involvement in the attack.
India’s Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made national security a key plank of his re-election campaign, pointing to the recent flare-up of violence as he battles the center-left opposition Congress party.
He is seeking a second term from the country’s 900 million voters in the mammoth election which kicked off on April 11 and runs till May 19. The results will be out on May 23.