Former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn did not receive any money sent by the automaker through Oman to his personal accounts, according to his lawyer.
“He doesn’t have a company, he doesn’t control a company there, formally or effectively,” Junichiro Hironaka, the former global auto executive’s attorney, said in an interview Sunday on TV Asahi when asked about payments made though the Middle Eastern country. “Ghosn told me that is impossible.”
After Ghosn’s first arrest in November, Nissan and Renault uncovered payments made through companies in Oman and Lebanon that allegedly were used for Ghosn’s personal benefit, including a yacht and his son’s startup. When Ghosn was arrested for a second time in April, prosecutors alleged that he used foreign corporate entities in 2017 and 2018 to funnel the money into accounts that he controlled.
While Ghosn was initially arrested for charges including breach of trust and misreporting income, the Oman-related allegations are the first to suggest that the former chairman — who also once led the alliance between Nissan, Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. — transferred money from Nissan for his own gain.
Ghosn, who is now free on bail again, has refuted all of the charges and has said that prosecutors were “aided and abetted by certain Nissan conspirators.” He has maintained his innocence of all charges filed against him since November, when his shock arrest jolted the auto industry and triggered sweeping changes at the three-company auto alliance.
Ghosn is now preparing for his trial, which may begin later this year or next. The former auto executive is planning to attend a pre-trial hearing scheduled for May 23, Hironaka said.