Former Nissan president defends his innocence before a judge

Tokyo - The former president of Nissan Motor, Carlos GhosnHe denied having committed any crime and proclaimed his loyalty to the Japanese automaker on Tuesday at a court hearing in Tokyo.

This was the first public appearance of the executive since his arrest on November 19 on suspicion of falsifying financial reports.

"Your Honor, I am innocent of the accusations against me"Ghosn told the judge, reading a statement in a firm and calm voice." I am unjustly accused. "

Prosecutors accused Ghosn, who led the radical transformation of the Japanese firm in the last two decades, of falsifying financial reports not to report a personal income of around 5 billion yen ($ 44 million) within five years until 2015 .

In addition, it is suspected of making Nissan temporarily assume the losses caused by the financial crisis in its investments.

Dressed in a dark suit without a tie and with plastic slippers, Ghosn refuted the accusations against him point by point and said he could leave the company but decided to stay.

"A captain leaves the ship during a storm," he said.

The veteran executive of the auto industry, a regular at the World Economic Forum and other elite meetings, was handcuffed and entered the room with a rope around his waist at the beginning of the session. The agents removed the shackles and sat him on a bench.

The presiding judge, Yuichi Tada, then read the charges against him and said it is considered that Ghosn, a French born in Brazil and with Lebanese roots, is at risk of flight and could try to hide evidence.

In Japan, suspects are often held without bail, often for fear of manipulating evidence.

Ghosn said that "acted with honor, legally and with the knowledge and approval of the appropriate executives within the company with the sole purpose of supporting and strengthening Nissan"According to the statement distributed to some media, including The Associated Press, before the hearing by people close to the case, the sources requested anonymity for the confidentiality of the case.

"Against the accusations made by the prosecution, I never received any compensation from Nissan that has not been disclosed", The text pointed out.