'He's a fugitive': Ex-Nissan chief flees 'rigged' Japan for Lebanon

Watch: Carlos Ghosn, ex-Nissan boss, flees to Lebanon (Bloomberg) (Bloomberg) -- Carlos Ghosn, the fallen automotive titan facing trial in Japan for financial crimes, fled to Lebanon to escape what he described as a “rigged Japanese justice system.” It’s a stunning turn of events in a saga that began with his shock arrest in Tokyo just over a year ago. Lebanon, where he grew up and has citizenship, puts the former head of Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA in a country with no extradition agreement with Japan. “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,” Ghosn said in an e-mailed statement Tuesday. “I have not fled justice – I have escaped injustice and political persecution.” The 65-year-old has said he’s the victim of a conspiracy between Nissan executives, prosecutors and government officials to prevent him from further integrating the company with Renault. He was awaiting trial for what prosecutors and his former colleagues at Nissan called a pervasive pattern of financial misconduct and raiding of corporate resources for personal gain — allegations that Ghosn has denied. Ghosn, a globetrotter who for years was a regular at events frequented by the rich and famous — including the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland — was released on bail in April under the condition that he live at a registered address and not leave Japan. Japanese prosecutors and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission both claim he and Nissan violated pay-disclosure rules by being compensated million more than the company reported to shareholders. Ghosn also faces breach-of-trust charges related to transactions that transferred personal investment losses to Nissan, and that moved money from a dealership in Oman into a company he controls in Lebanon. His wife Carole told Bloomberg Television last month that he should face trial in France, describing Japan’s “hostage justice system” as one that considers those who are charged “guilty until proven innocent.” Gallery: A look at Carlos Ghosn, the disgraced former boss of Nissan (Business Insider) Ghosn was born in Brazil and raised in Lebanon, where he has investments in real estate and vineyards and continues to be viewed as a business icon and wunderkind. Hady Hachem, the chief of cabinet of the minister of foreign affairs, said at the time that the government was also demanding the Lebanese citizen be allowed to contact his family and was making sure he had proper legal representation. Kelly was taken into custody at almost the same time as Ghosn, indicted for allegedly helping the car titan under-report his compensation, and then freed on bail in December 2018. To contact the reporters on this story: Ania Nussbaum in Paris at anussbaum5@bloomberg.net;Kae Inoue in Tokyo at kinoue@bloomberg.net;Angus Whitley in Sydney at awhitley1@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net, ;Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net, Will Davies For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com ©2019 Bloomberg L.P. Our Christmas Together Appeal proudly supports Age UK and The Children’s Society who are providing vital services to society’s most vulnerable this festive season.