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Nissan’s ex-head Carlos Ghosn flees Japan to Lebanon


Carlos Ghosn photographed in October 2018Image copyright
Reuters

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Official sources have not yet confirmed that Mr Ghosn has left Japan, where he was awaiting trial

Former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn has travelled to Lebanon after leaving Japan, where he faces a trial over allegations of financial misconduct.

In a statement, Mr Ghosn said he had not fled justice but “escaped injustice and political persecution”.

It is unclear how he managed to leave Japan, where he was arrested in 2018.

The former CEO was awaiting trial in the country and was barred from travelling abroad under strict bail conditions.

Mr Ghosn denies any wrongdoing.

The 65-year-old was born in Brazil to parents of Lebanese descent and was raised in Beirut, before travelling to France for further education. He holds French and Lebanese passports.

What did Carlo Ghosn’s statement say?

Mr Ghosn released a short statement after multiple news agencies reported he had travelled to Lebanon.

Confirming he had gone to the Middle East country, Mr Ghosn said he would “no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system where guilt is presumed, discrimination is rampant, and basic human rights are denied.

“I have not fled justice – I have escaped injustice and political persecution. I can now finally communicate freely with the media, and look forward to starting next week.”

Mr Ghosn has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing since he was first detained. His lawyers have accused the Japanese government of conspiring against him, calling the prosecution’s case “politically motivated”.

His wife Carole Ghosn told the BBC in June that authorities sought to “intimidate and humiliate” the couple.

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Media captionCarole Ghosn is calling for President Trump’s support over her husband’s legal battle

How he could have left Japan remains unclear. Mr Ghosn was under strict bail conditions as he awaited trial in Japan, such as video surveillance of his home and restricted phone and computer usage.

He had to surrender his passports to his lawyer, and had to ask for court permission to travel away from home for more than two nights.

According to Japan’s Kyodo News agency, the terms of his bail remain unchanged.

Red faces and questions in Japan

By Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, BBC’s Tokyo correspondent

Confirmation has now come that Carlos Ghosn is in Beirut and it came in dramatic fashion.

In a statement released to the media the former head of Nissan said he would no longer be held hostage by what he called a “rigged Japanese justice system where, he said, guilt is presumed, discrimination rampant and human rights denied”.

In Tokyo there are now many questions and red faces. How did such a well-known figure, who had surrendered his passport, manage to leave a country which has no land borders?

Japanese media is speculating that Mr Ghosn may have used a different passport with a different name.

Prosecutors had warned that Mr Ghosn was a flight risk, due to his great personal wealth and multiple citizenships, including that of Lebanon, with which Japan has no extradition agreement.

What charges does Carlos Ghosn face?

Once considered a hero in Japan for turning around Nissan – even becoming the subject of a Japanese comic book – Mr Ghosn spent 108 days in custody after his arrest in Tokyo in November 2018.

Nissan sacked him three days after his arrest.

Prosecutors allege that he made a multi-million-dollar payment to a Nissan distributor in Oman. Nissan meanwhile has filed its own criminal complaint against Mr Ghosn, accusing him of diverting money from the company for his own personal enrichment.

He is also accused of under-reporting his own salary.

Mr Ghosn denies all the charges.

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Media captionCarlos Ghosn said in April he had been the victim of “backstabbing”



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