Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn told a court in Tokyo that he is innocent and has been wrongly accused of financial misconduct.
Ghosn, who has been held in Japan since 19 November, has been accused of understating his income, transferring personal losses to Nissan and using company funds to pay a Saudi businessman for a personal favour.
Today's court hearing was requested by Ghosn’s lawyers and was held to explain the reason for his detention, which Judge Yuichi Tada said was due to flight risk and the possibility that he could conceal evidence.
“I have been wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated accusations,” Ghosn told the Tokyo District Court, Reuters reported.
“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 said.
Ghosn’s legal team, headed by former prosecutor Motonari Otsuru, are expected to explain his defence at a press conference later in the day.
The scandal has rocked the alliance between Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi. While Nissan and Mitsubishi have ousted the executive, he remains chief executive and chairman of Renault.
If found guilty, Ghosn could face 10 years in prison and a fine of up to ¥10m (£70,000).