Japanese authorities raid the house of former Nissan President Carlos Ghosn


Carlos Ghosn
Carlos Ghosn
Image Credit: Reuters

Tokyo – Japanese prosecutors raided the Tokyo home of former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn after he skipped bail before a trial on financial misconduct charges and left for Lebanon.

Tokyo prosecutors and police did not immediately comment Thursday. Japanese media reported and showed photos of the raid.

Government offices are closed this week for the New Year’s holidays.

It is unclear how Ghosn avoided the tight surveillance he was under in Japan and showed up in Lebanon.

Ghosn said Tuesday in a statement that he left for Lebanon because he thought the Japanese judicial system was unjust, and he wanted to avoid “political persecution.”

He said he would talk to reporters next week.

Japan does not have an extradition treaty with Lebanon.

Lebanon has said Ghosn entered the country legally, and there was no reason to take action against him.

His lawyers in Japan said they had no knowledge of the escape and they had all his passports. Ghosn has French, Lebanese and Brazilian citizenship.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK TV, without identifying sources, reported Thursday that Ghosn had two French passports.

Earlier Japanese reports said there were no official records in Japan of Ghosn’s departure, but a private jet had left from a regional airport to Turkey.

Ghosn, who was charged with under-reporting his future compensation and breach of trust, has repeatedly asserted his innocence, saying authorities trumped up charges to prevent a possible fuller merger between Nissan Motor Co. and alliance partner Renault SA.

His 1.5 billion yen ($14 million) bail that Ghosn posted on two separate instances to get out of detention is being revoked.

Spare French passport

Japanese authorities allowed ousted Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn to carry a spare French passport in a locked case while out on bail, public broadcaster NHK said on Thursday, shedding some light on how he managed a dramatic escape to Lebanon

The businessman, who holds French, Lebanese and Brazilian citizenship, was smuggled out of Tokyo by a private security company days ago, the culmination of a plan that was crafted over three months, Reuters has reported.

Ghosn was first arrested in Tokyo in November 2018 and faces four charges – which he denies – including hiding income and enriching himself through payments to car dealerships in the Middle East. He enjoyed an outpouring of support from Lebanon after his arrest.

Japanese authorities have not officially commented on Ghosn’s disappearance.

Officials in Lebanon said Ghosn entered legally on a French passport. But one of Ghosn’s Japanese lawyers has said the lawyers were still in possession of all three of his passports, under the terms of his bail.

However, Ghosn had been issued a spare French passport, NHK said, citing unidentified sources, and carried it in the months before his departure.



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