Former Nissan Motor Co Ltd (OTC: NSANF) chairman Carlos Ghosn has fled Japan, where he was facing financial crimes charges, and is now in his home country of Lebanon.
In a statement released by Ghosn to media outlets, the 65-year-old former executive 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."
Ghosn had been set to stand trial this coming year in Japan after being accused of underreporting his income and shifting personal financial losses to Nissan's books. The company was accused of involvement in the alleged scheme.
Ghosn had been jailed in Japan, but was out on bail. He was supposed to be prohibited from leaving Tokyo while out on bail, and under monitoring.
Details about how he left were still murky on Tuesday; Ghosn had to surrender his passport last year to Japanese officials.
Reports in Lebanese media suggested Ghosn escaped in some sort of freight box for musical instruments that was flown out of the country.
Lebanese news outlets saying Carlos Ghosn was smuggled out of Japan in a box designed for transporting musical instruments, this story is incredible https://t.co/5hxGBUSZhY
— Tom Gara (@tomgara) December 31, 2019
The Wall Street Journal reported Ghosn arrived in his native Lebanon on a flight from Turkey. Lebanon has no extradition treaty with Japan.
Alleges Political Persecution
“I have not fled justice — I have escaped injustice and political persecution,” Ghosn's statement read. “I can now finally communicate freely with the media, and look forward to starting next week.”
Ghosn's lawyers have complained that they haven't been able to adequately inspect information prosecutors in Japan had planned to use against him.
Ghosn rose to prominence in the auto industry in a nearly two-decade career at French tire maker Michelin Compag/ADR (OTC: MGDDY) before joining automaker Renault S A/ADR (OTC: RNLSY) in the mid-1990s as an executive vice president.
Ghosn was seen as the main architect of Renault's alliance with Nissan, where he was sent to cut costs. Since his arrest, he has been removed as chairman of Renault and Nissan.
Photo credit: World Economic Forum from Cologny, Switzerland, via Wikimedia