While most people were enjoying the Christmas and New Year’s holidays and cherishing their time away from work, others were hard at work. Among them was former Renault and Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn. The former auto executive, who had been under house arrest in Japan while facing charges of financial misconduct, reportedly hosted a concert at his house, afterward hiding himself in a musical instrument case that was then shepherded to a private plane that flew him to Lebanon.
The Brazilian-born businessman of Lebanese ancestry, who holds Brazilian, Lebanese, and French passports, decried the Japanese justice system, which is renowned for treating those awaiting trial as guilty until proved innocent. Forced confessions, torture, and deprivation of food and water are not uncommon, and many arrested are held in jail for years before being able to see a judge for the first time.
According to Ghosn: “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. I have not fled justice – I have escaped injustice and political persecution.”
Ghosn alleges that the charges against him are trumped up, the result of a desire on the part of Japan not to let number two automaker Nissan fully merge with its partner Renault. Investigations are underway in Japan as to how Ghosn was able to flee, as well as in Turkey, through which Ghosn fled on his way to Lebanon. Interpol has also issued a red alert to Lebanon regarding Ghosn, although Lebanon has no extradition treaty with Japan. Until things are cleared up, Ghosn will likely have to stay in Lebanon, otherwise he risks arrest and extradition to Japan if he leaves the country.
Image: Nissan Motor Co. Ltd