Carlos Ghosn opens Twitter account and vows to ‘tell truth’
Ousted Nissan chairman calls news conference on April 11
TOKYO — Former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn has set up a Twitter account and declared his eagerness to share his version of the events that led to his arrest and dismissal.
The Brazil-born tycoon on Wednesday tweeted that he intends to hold a news conference on April 11. This will be Ghosn’s first time speaking in public since his March 6 release on nearly $9 million bail, after more than three months in a Tokyo detention center.
“I’m getting ready to tell the truth about what’s happening,” Ghosn tweeted. His account has a blue check mark next to his name, indicating the social network has verified his identity.
Ghosn was arrested last November and faces charges for underreporting his income over nine years by approximately 9.2 billion yen ($82 million). He has also been charged with aggravated breach of trust over his alleged transfer of 1.85 billion yen worth of foreign exchange losses to Nissan, along with 1.6 billion yen worth of company funds paid to a Saudi acquaintance from 2009 to 2012.
Ghosn denies all wrongdoing.
The former Nissan boss’s computer and mobile phones are blocked from internet access, under the conditions for his bail. That could mean Ghosn received third-party support in order to send the tweet.
Junichiro Hironaka, the embattled executive’s lawyer, held a news conference on Tuesday and said his client was planning to speak out in the “near future.”
Hironaka also expressed concern that Ghosn’s legal troubles could deepen.
“We believe there is a possibility that prosecutors will make another charge against Mr. Ghosn on a different matter,” he said, in light of reports that French authorities have been alerted to further suspicious payments worth millions of euros.
Renault — Nissan’s French alliance partner, where Ghosn also served as chairman and CEO — notified French prosecutors about payments to a distributor in Oman during Ghosn’s tenure, Le Figaro and other news outlets reported. Much of the money was subsequently funneled to a Lebanese company controlled by Ghosn associates, according to the reports.
Ghosn’s spokesman previously said payments of $32 million, made over nine years, were rewards for the Oman company being a top Nissan dealer. The representative said the dealer incentives were not ordered by Ghosn and the funds were not used to pay any personal debt, according to Reuters.