Bill­boards de­clare ‘We are all Car­los Ghosn’ in Le­banon

Le­banese ori­gin en­tre­pre­neur is feted in the coun­try as a model of in­ter­na­tional suc­cess

The Gulf Today - - MIDDLE EAST -

BEIRUT: Le­banese woke up to bright bill­boards of ousted Nis­san chair­man Car­los Ghosn posted around Beirut on Thurs­day, in the lat­est show of sup­port for the de­tained busi­ness­man of Le­banese ori­gin.

The Brazil-born en­tre­pre­neur is feted in Le­banon as a model of in­ter­na­tional suc­cess, and many were shocked by his ar­rest in Ja­pan last month over al­leged inan­cial mis­con­duct.

“We are all Car­los Ghosn,” the dig­i­tal bill­boards de­clared, un­der a large mo­saic por­trait of the 64-yearold ty­coon, who is cur­rently held in a Ja­panese prison.

Dany Ka­mal, man­ag­ing partner at the Le­banese advertising irm that put them up, said the 18 bill­boards were a “per­sonal ini­tia­tive” as he was an ac­quain­tance of Ghosn.

“It’s just a cam­paign against in­jus­tice,” he told AFP. “Un­til proven other­wise, Car­los is not guilty.”

Ghosn spent his child­hood years in Le­banon, and has reg­u­larly trav­elled back and forth to the tiny Mediter­ranean coun­try.

The Le­banese au­thor­i­ties have re­peat­edly hon­oured him, and in 2017 Ghosn’s por­trait even ap­peared on a postal stamp.

Sev­eral Le­banese ofi­cials have ex­pressed sol­i­dar­ity with Ghosn since his ar­rest on Nov.19, even as he de­nies al­le­ga­tions that he un­der­re­ported his pay by mil­lions of dol­lars.

“A Le­banese phoenix will not be scorched by a Ja­panese sun,” In­te­rior Minister No­had Mach­nouk de­clared.

Last month, For­eign Minister Gi­bran Bas­sil re­ceived the Ja­panese am­bas­sador Matahiro Ya­m­aguchi to en­quire about the cir­cum­stances of Ghosn’s ar­rest and the con­di­tions of his de­ten­tion, the min­istry said.

Ghosn faces an ar­ray of claims in­volv­ing hid­ing money and beneits he re­ceived while chair­man of Nis­san and head of an al­liance be­tween the Ja­panese irm, Mit­subishi Mo­tors and France’s Re­nault.

While Mit­subishi Mo­tors and Nis­san have re­moved Ghosn, he re­mains chair­man and CEO of Re­nault.

On so­cial me­dia, some in Le­banon have clam­oured that Ghosn is in­no­cent while oth­ers have seen his ar­rest as an ex­am­ple of bet­ter ac­count­abil­ity in other coun­tries.

“May all the gangs of thieves in Le­banon meet the same fate,” one Le­banese so­cial me­dia user wrote on­line.

Agence France-presse

A por­trait of Car­los Ghosn is seen on a pub­lic­ity bill­board at a street in Beirut on Thurs­day.

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