EghtesadOnline: Former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn said Tuesday he had fled to Lebanon to escape injustice in Japan, where he was on bail awaiting trial on financial misconduct charges.
The ex-auto tycoon's abrupt departure was the latest twist in a rollercoaster journey that saw him fall from boardroom to detention center, and it sparked questions over an embarrassing security lapse in Japan, AFP reported.
In a statement, the 65-year-old said he would "no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system, where guilt is presumed, discrimination is rampant, and basic human rights are denied".
"I have not fled justice—I have escaped injustice and political persecution," said Ghosn, who vowed to communicate "freely" with the media "starting next week", according to Financial Tribune.
It was not clear how he managed to leave Japan, as his bail conditions barred him from exiting the country he had been held in since his sudden arrest in November 2018 sent shockwaves through the business world.
He and his lawyers have repeatedly voiced fears a fair trial would be impossible in Japan and have called for the case to be thrown out, citing missteps by the prosecutors' office.
Lebanese media reported Ghosn had flown by private plane from Turkey to Lebanon, where his parents were born and where he spent most of his childhood after arriving there as a toddler.
A source in the Lebanese Presidency said Ghosn had entered the country from Turkey with a French passport and his Lebanese identity card.
"He is in Lebanon in his house with his wife," a family friend told AFP. "He is very happy. He is free."
Many Lebanese view Ghosn as a symbol of their country's large diaspora and a prime example of Lebanese entrepreneurial genius and have been shocked by his arrest.
But in Tokyo, the unexpected turn of events raised questions about how he gave authorities the slip.
His Japanese lawyer Junichiro Hironaka said he was "dumbfounded" by the news and confirmed that lawyers were still in possession of several of Ghosn's passports.
Public broadcaster NHK cited a foreign ministry official as saying: "He was not supposed to leave the country. Had we known about it beforehand, we would have reported that to proper law enforcement authorities."
Taichiro Motoe, a lawmaker from Shinzo Abe's ruling Liberal Democrat Party, said the news had come as a "shock" and called for "swift and effective" improvements.