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Ghosn says French envoy told him of inside plot

"Frankly, I was shocked by the motive of the arrest and the first thing I asked is make sure Nissan knows so they can send me a lawyer." Ghosn told Reuters in a Tuesday (January 14) interview in Beirut.

"And the second day, 24 hours from this, I received a visit from the French ambassador. And the French ambassador told me: 'Nissan is turning against you'. And this is where I realised that the whole thing was a plot."

Former Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa, who was forced to resign last year after admitting that he had received improper compensation, told a news conference shortly after Ghosn's arrest that the ex-Nissan boss had been using corporate money for personal purposes and under-reporting his income for years.

The arrest of Ghosn, widely respected for rescuing the carmaker from near-bankruptcy, has put Japan's criminal justice system under international scrutiny.

Among the practices now under the spotlight are keeping suspects in detention for long periods and excluding defence lawyers from interrogations, which can last eight hours a day.

Ghosn, 65, fled Japan last month while awaiting trial on charges of under-reporting earnings, breach of trust and misappropriation of company funds, all of which he denies.