Bailed tycoon Ghosn ‘escapes’ to Lebanon from ‘rigged’ Japan
Former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn said Tuesday he had fled to Lebanon to escape injustice in Japan, where he was on bail awaiting trial on financial misconduct charges.
The auto tycoon’s abrupt departure was the latest twist in a rollercoaster journey that saw him fall from boardroom to detention centre and it sparked questions over an embarrassing security lapse in Japan.
In a statement, the 65-year-old tycoon 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,” said Ghosn, who vowed to communicate “freely” with the media “starting next week.”
It is not clear how he managed to leave Japan, as his bail conditions prevent him from exiting the country he had been held in since his sudden arrest in November 2018 sent shockwaves through the business world.
He and his lawyers have repeatedly voiced fears over the impossibility of a fair trial in Japan and have called for the case to be thrown out, citing mis-steps by the prosecutors’ office.
Lebanese media reported Ghosn had flown by private plane from Turkey to Lebanon, where his parents were born and where he spent most of his childhood, after arriving there as a toddler.
Many Lebanese view Ghosn as a symbol of their country’s large diaspora, and a prime example of Lebanese entrepreneurial genius and have been shocked by his arrest.
But in Tokyo, the unexpected turn of events will spark questions about how he could apparently have given authorities the slip.
His Japanese lawyer Junichiro Hironaka said he was “dumbfounded” by the news and confirmed that lawyers were still in possession of Ghosn’s passports.
“I don’t even know if we can contact him. I don’t know how we will proceed beyond that,” Hironaka told reporters……..read more