Carlos Ghosn: flees Japan for Lebanon

Carlos Ghosn, the former Nissan Motor chairman who faces numerous charges in Japan, is now a fugitive, after he fled the Asian nation in a private jet to Lebanon.

In a statement on Tuesday, he said he did not flee justice but political persecution.

“I am now in Lebanon and 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,” the 65-year-old former executive said in a statement.

“I have not fled justice — I have escaped injustice and political persecution.”

Ghosn escaped from Japan while out on bail, which he posted in April while awaiting trial on charges including breach of trust, underreporting his salary and siphoning payments from the automaker.

It is unclear how Ghosn, who is a citizen of Brazil, France, Lebanon, left the Asian nation.

The former executive was initially arrested last November but was released in March after spending 108 days in a Tokyo cell. He was then arrested in April on new charges connected to funnelling some $5 million in company funds to a bank account he owned before posting bail later that month.

Ghosn claims innocence against all charges.

“I can now communicate freely with the media, and look forward to starting next week,” he said in the statement.

According to Japan’s national broadcaster NHK News, the court-imposed conditions of his release in April include strict confinement to his central Tokyo residence, where a surveillance camera was to be installed at its entrance. He was also ordered to give up his passport as part of his ban from leaving the country.

Ghosn was also barred from contacting his wife and Nissan dealership executives in Lebanon and Oman, it said.