- Ghosn was accused of understating his salary for years and funneling about $5 million to a dealership under his control.
- The Mitsubishi boss was first arrested in November 2018, and detained for 108 days, before being released on bail.
- Lebanon has said that no charges will be brought against him.
Japan has asked for the extradition of former Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi Chairman, Carlos Ghosn, from Lebanon. He fled from the country in December through unconventional means after facing a slew of financial crime charges. The former auto boss has publicly revealed that he is currently residing in Lebanon.
A scandalous legal saga led to his ouster as head of Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors in Japan. He was accused of understating his salary for years and funneling about $5 million to a dealership under his control. Ghosn has dismissed the claims as fictitious and aimed at removing him from the helm. He recently underscored that he was not running away from justice but from political persecution.
“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. I have not fled justice – I have escaped injustice and political persecution. I can now finally communicate freely with the media, and look forward to starting next week.”
Ghosn is a citizen of three countries, namely Brazil, France, and Lebanon. He was born in Brazil but raised in Lebanon. His lawyers say that they were equally surprised by his abrupt exit from the country as they still hold his passports. He is alleged to have entered Lebanon via Turkey. French Secretary of State for Economy and Finance, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, has said that his exit from Japan does not make him above the law.
The Mitsubishi boss was first arrested in November 2018, and detained for 108 days, before being released on bail. He was incarcerated again in April 2019 but released soon after. He was, however, required to stay in Japan while awaiting trial. His wife, Carole Ghosn, had been on a worldwide campaign calling for the dismissal of his case before his escape.
He had attained celebrity status in Lebanon before the financial crime allegations emerged. The country even sanctioned a postal stamp featuring his image. The Lebanese government openly pledged to stand by Ghosn when the legal ordeal unfolded in 2018. The country has welcomed him despite his tarnished image abroad. According to the National Security Directorate, no legal action will be taken against the former auto exec.
Wrangles at Nissan
Ghosn helped forge the alliance between Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi. This remains to be one of his greatest accomplishments while at the company. The union led to an increase in their market share.
Leadership problems began after his initial arrest in 2018, which led to his removal as head of Mitsubishi and Nissan in Japan. Renault, at the time, refused to sever ties, alleging a lack of sufficient information on the allegations. Ghosn claims that the top brass at Nissan was uncomfortable having him as the overall leader, especially with the new Renault collaboration.