BEIRUIT, LEBANON – Following a dramatic, clandestine escape from Japan back to Lebanon, former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn held a 2-hour press conference to address the public. Ghosn is currently a fugitive of the Japanese justice system, which issued an Red Notice to Interpol to Lebanon requesting the extradition of Ghosn back to Japan, where he faces an breach of trust indictment involving alleged misappropriation of funds from Nissan to his personal accounts.
Ghosn explained that he escaped because he was subject to injustice in the Japanese criminal justice system, but he did not provide any details regarding the mechanism of his escape. He went into detail to claim his innocence, complete with a Powerpoint presentation, sharing various documents he says provides evidence that there was no wrongdoing. Ghosn spoke of a conspiracy against him in order to assign blame for a decline in Nissan’s financial performance, of a nonfunctional Japanese justice system, and even included references to the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor as evidence of injustice.
The Tokyo Ministry of Justice published a response, including an English language translation, stating,
The court released defendant Ghosn on bail because he promised to comply with the bail conditions that he must not hide/run away or travel abroad, but he fled Japan and ran away from his criminal trial. Such action would not be condoned under any nation’s system. Furthermore, he has been propagating both within Japan and internationally false information on Japan’s legal system and its practice. That is absolutely intolerable.Comment by MORI Masako, Minister of Justice on Defendant Carlos Ghosn
Prosecutors in Japan allege that Ghosn redirected ¥560 million to personal account using investment firms that he controlled. Ghosn denies any wrongdoing. Lebanon does not have an extradition treaty with Japan. Ghosn could have legal trouble locally though, because travel to Israel is forbidden, and Ghosn did travel to Israel in 2008 for a meeting in defiance of a Lebanese boycott of Israel at that time. As a result Lebanese prosecutors have placed a travel restriction on Ghosn and have requested a meeting with him to discuss these charges.