A dar­ing es­cape: Ex-Nis­san chief flees Japan ahead of trial

Antelope Valley Press - - Business - By YURI KAGEYAMA and SARAH EL DEEB Associated Press

TOKYO — In a dar­ing es­cape that con­founded au­thor­i­ties, Nis­san’s for­mer Chair­man Car­los Ghosn skipped bail while await­ing trial in Japan on al­le­ga­tions of fi­nan­cial mis­con­duct and reap­peared in Le­banon, where he said Tues­day that he had fled to avoid “po­lit­i­cal per­se­cu­tion.”

Ghosn, who is of Le­banese ori­gin and holds French, Le­banese and Brazil­ian pass­ports, dis­closed his lo­ca­tion in a state­ment through his rep­re­sen­ta­tives but did not say how he man­aged to get out of Japan, where he had been un­der sur­veil­lance. He promised to talk to re­porters next week.

“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 state­ment said.

Speak­ing anony­mously, pros­e­cu­tors in Japan told Ja­panese me­dia they did not know how Ghosn got out. His lawyer also de­nied all knowl­edge of the es­cape, say­ing he was stunned. Japan does not have an ex­tra­di­tion treaty with Le­banon, which said Ghosn had en­tered the coun­try legally and there was no rea­son to take any ac­tion against him.

“He is home,” Ghosn’s friend, tele­vi­sion host Ricardo Karam said in a mes­sage. “It’s a big ad­ven­ture.”

Karam said Ghosn ar­rived in Le­banon on Mon­day morn­ing, but de­clined to elab­o­rate. The Le­banon-based news­pa­per Al-Joumhouriy­a said Ghosn ar­rived in Beirut from Turkey aboard a pri­vate jet.

Ghosn was ar­rested in Novem­ber 2018 and was ex­pected to face trial in April 2020. He posted $14 mil­lion bail on two sep­a­rate in­stances af­ter he was ar­rested a sec­ond time on ad­di­tional charges, and re­leased again.

Pros­e­cu­tors fought his re­lease, but a court granted him bail on con­di­tion that he be mon­i­tored and not meet with his wife, Ca­role, who is also of Le­banese ori­gin. Re­cently, the court al­lowed them to speak by video.

Associated Press

This March 2019, file photo shows for­mer Nis­san Chair­man Car­los Ghosn (right) and his wife Ca­role in Tokyo.

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