Former industry giant, who reportedly escaped Japan hiding in a musical instrument case, will fight to clear his name
James Attwood, digital editor
8 January 2020

Former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn will today give his first public comments since fleeing Japan, where he was held on bail while awaiting charges for financial misconduct.

Ghosn is now in Beirut, Lebanon after escaping Japan late in December 2019 – reportedly by hiding in a musical instument case belonging to a Gregorian musical act. While no specifics of the press briefing have been given, Ghosn has vowed that he will fight to clear his name.

UPDATE: Carlos Ghosn trashes Nissan and Japanese legal system, reaffirms innocence

Ghosn was arrested in Japan on November 2018 on charges relating to his time as chairman of Nissan. The numerous charges include misusing company assets, underreporting his income and transferring personal investment losses onto Nissan foreign exchange dealing.

After spending 108 days in custody he was released on bail, with strict conditions that barred him from travelling abroad. His trial was due to begin in April 2020. In Japan Ghosn had been under constant surveillance, with restricted phone and internet usage, while his three passports – he has French, Brazilian and Lebanese heritage – are held by his Japanese lawyer.

According to Lebanese news channel MTV, Ghosn escaped with the help of a Gregorian music band and a team of ex-special forces members. It claims the musicians played a concert at his house, at the conclusion of which Ghosn – who is 5ft 6in – was hidden in one of the larger cases, possibly for a double bass. He was then taken to a small local airport, where a private Bombadier challenger jet was waiting to fly him to Lebanon.

That account had reportedly been denied by Ghosn's wife, Carole, although she gave no indication of how he did it. The involvement of a Gregorian band has also been questioned by classical music experts, who note they rarely perform with instruments. 

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

After arriving in Beirut, the 65-year-old issued a statement to the media, saying: “I have not fled justice. I have escaped injustice and political persecution.”

He went on to attack the Japanese legal system, in which he claims “guilt is presumed, discrimination is rampant, and basic human rights are denied, in flagrant disregard of Japan’s legal obligations under international law and treaties it is bound to uphold”.

He continued: “I can now finally communicate freely with the media,” adding that he would start to do so next week."

One of Ghosn’s Japanese lawyers, Junichiro Hironaka, told reporters in the country that they knew nothing about Ghosn leaving the country, and were still in possession of his passports. Hironaka said: “We told the court that we are in a bind as well. If he actually left this country, it violates the conditions for bail.” He added: “I don’t even know if we can contact him.”

An official at the Lebanese foreign ministry told Reuters Ghosn had entered the country legally using his French passport and Lebanese ID.

According to the Japan Times, the Tokyo District Court has confirmed that the terms of Ghosn’s bail remained unchanged, which suggests he left the country without permission. According to further reports, the Japanese Immigration Services Agency has no records of Ghosn’s departure. 

Ghosn, who was born in Brazil, has Lebanese parents and lived in the country from the age of six until he left to attend university in Paris. Notably, Lebanon has no extradition agreement with Japan.

READ MORE

Carlos Ghosn trashes Nissan and Japanese legal system, reaffirms innocence

Autocar's 10 most-read news stories of 2019​

Taking stock of Nissan's claims about Carlos Ghosn​

Is time running out for Japan's car industry?​

Join the debate

Comments
38

31 December 2019

Wow! Looks like Ghosn definitely didn't want to miss the 2020 New Year celebrations!

31 December 2019

Because what you want to do if you're innocent is avoid trial and forfeit the opportunity to clear your name and repair your reputation.

4 January 2020
jason_recliner wrote:

Because what you want to do if you're innocent is avoid trial and forfeit the opportunity to clear your name and repair your reputation.

 

Your silly post presumes a fair and balanced trial, with no hidden agendas, etc, so given everything said, what would you do, if you were in his shoes, not that you would ever be, given he has run one of the biggest, most successful car conglomerates ever and we still do not know exactly what he is charged with. It can be argued that both his name and reputation are unsullied, as he has not yet been proven guilty of any crime. Innocent until...

9 January 2020
Takeitslowly wrote:

jason_recliner wrote:

Because what you want to do if you're innocent is avoid trial and forfeit the opportunity to clear your name and repair your reputation.

 

Your silly post presumes a fair and balanced trial, with no hidden agendas, etc... general douchebaggery... It can be argued that both his name and reputation are unsullied, as he has not yet been proven guilty of any crime. Innocent until...

You could say that about literally every court case.  You're an idiot.

2 January 2020

According to latest reports Ghosn was told that his trial had been put back to April 2021, a whole year later than it was supposed to start.

 

Another year of being under house arrest and unable to communicate with his wife without trial.

 

I'm not saying if he was right or wrong, only that is a massive delay.

31 December 2019

Frankly any other person in his position would have done the same. The Japanese justice system is notorious.

31 December 2019
manicm wrote:

Frankly any other person in his position would have done the same. The Japanese justice system is notorious.

How do we know he is not guilty of what he is accused of?

31 December 2019
NoPasaran wrote:

manicm wrote:

Frankly any other person in his position would have done the same. The Japanese justice system is notorious.

How do we know he is not guilty of what he is accused of?

I'm not questioning whether he's guilty or not, but he's being incarcerated indefinitely while they wait to pile on more charges against him.

31 December 2019
NoPasaran wrote:

manicm wrote:

Frankly any other person in his position would have done the same. The Japanese justice system is notorious.

How do we know he is not guilty of what he is accused of?

I'm not questioning whether he's guilty or not, but he's being incarcerated indefinitely while they wait to pile on more charges against him.

31 December 2019
NoPasaran wrote:

manicm wrote:

Frankly any other person in his position would have done the same. The Japanese justice system is notorious.

How do we know he is not guilty of what he is accused of?

Well, we don't know, but for one thing it hasn't been proven in a court of law that he is guilty. In other words, based on the Western legal principle, that a person is innocent until proven guilty, he should be regared as innocent.

I understand though that the Japanese law is different on this point, i.e. the accused is guilty until proven innocent. So on that basis, one might assume Ghosn is guilty.....at least until he proves his innocence in a Japanese court, which doesn't look as it will happen any time soon.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week