Lebanon summons Japanese ambassador over Carlos Ghosn case
Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil summoned Japan’s ambassador to Beirut to demand answers about the recent arrest of Lebanese motor industry tycoon Carlos Ghosn.
There are many “question marks” surrounding the circumstances of Mr Ghosn’s arrest, Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, hours before the former chairman of Nissan denied some of the charges against him.
The denial was his first formal comment since Nissan claimed he misused company money for personal matters and understated his income.
The summoning of Matahiro Yamaguchi came a day after Lebanon’s ambassador to Japan, Nidal Yahya, met Mr Ghosn, Lebanese MP Alain Aoun told The National.
Beirut is in contact with the Japanese authorities about the case, Mr Aoun said.
Mr Bassil was keen to follow up on the high-profile case, which is of great interest to the Lebanese state and public, considering Mr Ghosn’s global success, the foreign ministry said.
The Japanese authorities arrested the tycoon last Monday and he is being held in a prison in Tokyo, awaiting trial.
Mr Ghosn has since been dismissed as chairman of Mitsubishi and Nissan, leaving French car maker Renault as the only member of the alliance that has yet to take measures against him.
Mr Bassil said that Lebanon was co-ordinating with France and other states to ensure that the case was handled transparently and in line with legal protocols.
Tuesday’s summons came days after the Japanese ambassador met Mr Aoun, who chairs a committee in parliament dealing with Japanese-Lebanese relations.
“Lebanon respects the independence and sovereignty of Japan’s judiciary, and does not allow itself to interfere in the course of Japan’s justice,” Mr Aoun told Mr Yamaguchi.
“Yet it also believes that Carlos Ghosn should undergo a fair and transparent trial with full respect for his right to defend himself, away from the prejudices that have been deliberated through the media.”
The ambassador said Japan was keen to maintain its strong relations with Lebanon.
“This issue is going through a judicial process that is completely independent from politics,” Mr Yamaguchi said. “Carlos Ghosn will get a fair trial like other Japanese citizens and will enjoy the full means to defend his case.”
Motor industry tycoon Carlos Ghosn is awaiting trial in Japan on corruption charges. He has denied some of the allegations