TOKYO -- Carlos Ghosn, the former Nissan Motor chairman-turned-fugitive, strongly implied to French media that Japanese people aided his epic escape.
Ghosn made the comment in an interview with the magazine Paris Match that was published on Thursday.
To the question, "Were there Japanese among those who helped you?" Ghosn replied, "If you think you can get out of this country without a minimum of local complicity, you are deluding yourself."
Though there have been news reports of possible Japanese collaborators, it is likely that the Paris Match interview is the first time Ghosn himself has acknowledged that he did receive help.
The once highflying executive also said it will not be easy to find out who his co-conspirators were.
"Prosecutors," he said, will "have to move heaven and earth to find them, scan the phones, question all those who have worked with me ..."
Regarding an audit that Nissan filed on Thursday saying Ghosn improperly spent at least 3.9 million euros ($4.34 million) of company funds for personal use, Ghosn suggested he has not been given the opportunity to explain away the allegations. The funds were disbursed by Renault-Nissan B.V., a Dutch joint venture that oversees operations of the automotive alliance. Ghosn served as president.
He said that post made him the boss of three automakers, including Mitsubishi Motors. "I was a low-cost manager," he said.
Ghosn fled Japan for Lebanon at the end of December.