Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn told a Tokyo court during his first public appearance Tuesday that he was wrongly accused of financial misconduct.
Wearing a suit without a tie and handcuffs, the 64-year-old Ghosn declared his innocence, saying he "always acted honorably and legally," and the appropriate executives inside the company knew about and approved his actions.
"I have been wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated allegations," Ghosn said in statement he read in court.
Since his arrest Nov. 19, he has been held in Tokyo detention center and hadn't made any public appearances.
While in detention, Ghosn was arrested on Dec. 21 on additional charges of transferring his personal investment losses to Nissan in an "aggravated breach of trust," resulting in a financial loss of about $16.6 million for the automaker. It's a crime under Japanese law that refers to executives abusing their position for personal gain.
The new allegations, as a violation of of Japan's Companies Act, are considered more serious with a maximum prison sentence of up to 10 years than the original charges.
He was charged on Dec. 10 with failing to report his compensation accurately in Nissan's financial statements about $43 million worth of income in Nissan's annual reports for the five fiscal years through March 2015.
On the same day, Ghosn and alleged coconspirator Greg Kelly were arrested on additional allegations they failed to report another $36 million for the three fiscal years through this past March.
Ghosn said that he "never received any compensation from Nissan that was not disclosed" and foreign-exhange contracts that he temporarily transferred to the company in 2008 didn't result in any loss for the company. It was during the height of the worldwide financial crisis
"I have dedicated two decades of my life to reviving Nissan," Ghosn said in the court. "I worked on these goals day and night."
Nissan said its internal investigation uncovered "substantial and convincing evidence of misconduct" by Ghosn.
While Ghosn was in jail, the board dismissed him as chairman and representative director.
He remains chairman and CEO of Renault, which is the largest shareholder and partner of Nissan, but the company has assigned his duties to other executives.
Judge Yuichi Tada ruled Ghosn will remain in jail because he is a flight risk and because he might destroy evidence if released. Kelly was released on bail on Christmas Day.