Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn yesterday said that he fled to Lebanon to escape injustice in Japan, where he was on bail awaiting trial on financial misconduct charges.
The tycoon’s abrupt departure was the latest twist in a roller-coaster journey that saw him fall from boardroom to detention center, and it has sparked questions over an embarrassing security lapse in Japan.
The 65-year-old Ghosn said in a statement that 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 in which he had been held 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 missteps by the Tokyo District Prosecutors’ Office.
Lebanese media reported that Ghosn flew by private airplane from Turkey to Lebanon, where his parents were born and where he spent most of his childhood.
Many Lebanese, who view Ghosn as a symbol of their country’s large diaspora and a prime example of Lebanese entrepreneurial genius, have been shocked by his arrest.
However, in Tokyo, the unexpected turn of events is sure to spark questions about how he could apparently have given authorities the slip.
His Japanese lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka, said that 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.
The Japan Broadcasting Corp quoted a Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs official as saying: “He was not supposed to leave the country. Had we known about it beforehand, we would have reported that to proper law enforcement authorities.”
Ghosn has consistently denied all charges against him, saying that they are a “plot” by Nissan executives to get rid of him, because they feared that he was moving the Japanese firm to a closer tie-up with Renault.
Ghosn has lost the business empire that he was lauded for creating. Sacked from Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors, he resigned from Renault — the third firm in the automaker alliance that he forged.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big