Carlos Ghosn, awaiting trial in Japan, somehow fled to Lebanon

Peter Weber

Carlos Ghosn, the former chairman of Nissan, announced Tuesday that he is now in Lebanon, despite being ordered by Japanese courts not to leave the country while awaiting trial on financial misconduct charges. Ghosn insisted in his statement that he has "not fled justice — I have escaped injustice and political persecution." He was arrested in Japan in November 2018 then detained and rearrested for months before a court ordered him released on $9 million bail in April. Ghosn, 65, was told to hand over his passport and placed under close surveillance.

Japanese media quoted anonymous prosecutors expressing puzzlement as to how Ghosn managed to leave Japan. Ghosn holds Lebanese, French, and Brazilian citizenship, and Lebanon and Japan do not have an extradition treaty. Japan's minister of state for foreign affairs met with the Lebanese president and foreign minister in Beirut earlier this month, The Washington Post reports.

Ghosn was expected to go on trial in April on criminal charges of financial misconduct and underreporting his income, charges he denies. In his statement, Ghosn said he "will no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system where guilt is presumed, discrimination is rampant, and basic human rights are denied, in flagrant disregard of Japan's legal obligations under international law and treaties it is bound to uphold." Fellow Nissan-Renault board member Greg Kelly, a U.S. citizen, was also arrested, but none of the Japanese board members were detained.

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