Ousted Nissan Motor Co Chairman Carlos Ghosn declared his innocence in his first public appearance since his arrest in November. Ghosn telling a Tokyo court that he was wrongly accused of financial misconduct.
"I have been wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated accusations. Contrary to the accusations made by the prosecutors, I never received any compensation from Nissan that was not disclosed, nor did I ever enter into any binding contract with Nissan to be paid a fixed amount that was not disclosed," Ghosn told the Tokyo District Court.
The court hearing, requested by Ghosn's lawyers was held to explain the reasons for his prolonged detention since his Nov. 19 arrest than to argue merits of the case. Presiding Judge Yuichi Tada said the detention was due to flight risk and possibility he could conceal evidence.
Ghosn used the opportunity to deny accusations againts him, a move that defense lawyer Masashi Akita said could prove risky if prosecutors use it to build their case.
"From my point of view as a defense lawyer, there is some risk in disclosing his opinion in open court," he said.
Ghosn's legal team, headed by former prosecutor Motonari Otsuru, are expected to explain his defense at a press conference later.