| 12:11 AM EST

Ghosn Flees Japan for Refuge in Lebanon

Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn, who has been awaiting trial in Japan, confirms he has fled to Lebanon to escape “injustice and political persecution.”
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Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn, who has been awaiting trial in Japan for financial crimes, confirms he has fled to Lebanon to escape “injustice and political persecution.”

Ghosn reportedly arrived in Lebanon, where he is a citizen, aboard a private jet from Turkey. It isn’t clear how he evaded the highly restrictive terms of his $9 million bail, which required him to surrender his passport and obtain court permission to make any trip that lasts more than two nights.

“I Have Not Fled Justice”

In a statement released overnight, Ghosn insists he has not fled justice. Instead, he asserts, he 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.”

Ghosn is highly revered in Lebanon. He also is shielded there from extradition. He says he is eager to present his side of the charges to news media next week.

Ghosn was arrested in Japan 13 months ago on suspicion of financial wrongdoing. Since then he has been subjected to a judicial system under which a suspect may be repeatedly interrogated without an attorney present and detained indefinitely by periodically being charged with additional crimes.

He awaits trials that were expected to begin next spring on four charges involving millions of dollars of underreported retirement compensation and breach of trust for using company funds for personal gain.

Victim of a Conspiracy?

Ghosn claims he is a victim of a plot between prosecutors and disgruntled Nissan executives to frame him. He also has repeatedly asserted that he is innocent of all charges, cannot get a fair hearing in Japan and has been denied the right to a speedy trial. Prosecutors insist they are conducting themselves in accordance with Japanese legal practices.

Ghosn remained jailed for five months before being released on bail. He was rearrested a month later and released again at the end of April. His movements have been severely restricted by bail terms that include constant surveillance and, unit last month, any direct communication with his wife.

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