Ghosn flies to Lebanon, blasts ‘rigged’ Japanese justice

Carlos Ghosn has arrived in Beirut. (AFP/File)
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Updated 31 December 2019

Ghosn flies to Lebanon, blasts ‘rigged’ Japanese justice

  • It is not clear how he managed to leave Japan, as his bail conditions prevent him from exiting the country
  • He and his lawyers have repeatedly voiced fears over the impossibility of a fair trial in Japan and have called for the case to be thrown out

BEIRUT: Former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn, who was awaiting trial in Japan on financial misconduct charges, confirmed Tuesday he had flown to Lebanon, the latest stunning twist in a rollercoaster journey that saw him fall from boardroom to detention center.
In a statement, the 65-year-old tycoon 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.”
“I have not fled justice — I have escaped injustice and political persecution,” said Ghosn, who vowed to communicate “freely” with the media “starting next week.”

It is not clear how he managed to leave Japan, as his bail conditions prevent him from exiting the country he had been held in since his sudden arrest in November 2018 sent shockwaves through the business world.
He and his lawyers have repeatedly voiced fears over the impossibility of a fair trial in Japan and have called for the case to be thrown out, citing mis-steps by the prosecutors’ office.


Read more: How Carlos Ghosn arrival drama unfolded at midnight in Lebanon


Lebanese media reported Ghosn had flown by private plane from Turkey to Lebanon, where his parents were born and where he spent most of his childhood, after arriving there as a toddler.

Many Lebanese view Ghosn as a symbol of their country’s large diaspora, and a prime example of Lebanese entrepreneurial genius and have been shocked by his arrest.
But in Tokyo, the unexpected turn of events will spark questions about how he could apparently have given authorities the slip.
His Japanese lawyers were seemingly caught unawares by Ghosn’s travel plans and declined to comment to reporters.
Public broadcaster NHK cited a foreign ministry official as saying: “He was not supposed to leave the country. Had we known about it beforehand, we would have reported that to proper law enforcement authorities.”

French junior economy minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said on Tuesday that she was "very surprised" by news that Ghosn had left Japan, adding she had heard of it via the media.
Government officials could not be reached immediately on a public holiday.
His sudden departure from Japan is nearly as dramatic as his arrest out of the blue at a Tokyo airport.
Prosecutors stormed his private jet in scenes captured by a local paper, and whisked him off to a Tokyo detention center where he spent more than 100 days in spartan conditions far removed from his sometimes extravagant lifestyle.
He eventually won bail, striding out of the detention center disguised in a workman’s uniform complete with mask and cap in an apparent bid to fool the world’s media camped outside.
Then one morning in April, he was rearrested on another set of charges just days before he was due to give a hotly anticipated news conference.
He released a video apparently pre-recorded in which he accused “backstabbing” Nissan executives of a “conspiracy.”
Later that month, he was released again on bail — this time leaving in a business suit — and he had been in Tokyo ever since preparing for his trial in “combative” mood, according to his lawyers.
He stands accused of two counts of under-reporting his salary to the tune of 9.23 billion yen ($85 million) from 2010 to 2018, deferring some of his pay and failing to declare this to shareholders.
Prosecutors also allege he attempted to get Nissan to cover around 1.85 billion yen in personal foreign exchange losses during the 2008 financial crisis.
The fourth charge against him is that he allegedly transferred millions from Nissan funds to a dealership in Oman, from which the executive supposedly skimmed off $5 million for his personal use.
He has consistently denied all charges against him, saying they are a “plot” by Nissan executives to get rid of him because they feared he was moving the Japanese firm to a closer tie-up with Renault.
In the meantime, Ghosn has lost the business empire he was once lauded for creating. Sacked from Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors, he resigned from Renault — the third firm in the uneasy car alliance he forged.


Egypt launches campaign to promote nature reserves and ecotourism

Updated 13 sec ago

Egypt launches campaign to promote nature reserves and ecotourism

  • The campaign was launched from the Ras Mohamed Nature Reserve in South Sinai
  • It aims to support ecotourism, encourage visits to reserves and help people to learn about the local population

CAIRO: Egypt has launched a campaign to promote nature reserves, raise environmental awareness and support ecotourism.
The Ministry of Environment said the campaign was in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and the Ministry of Information, as well as with the participation of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Integration of Biodiversity in Egyptian Tourism project funded by the Global Environment Facility.
The campaign was launched from the Ras Mohamed Nature Reserve in South Sinai in the presence of Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Al-Anani, and Minister of State for Information Osama Heikal, in addition to 30 ambassadors and representatives from foreign embassies in Egypt.
It aims to support ecotourism, encourage visits to reserves and help people to learn about the local population, including their culture and heritage.
The ministry said the campaign would implement an integrated awareness and communications plan to support responsible and sustainable environmental tourism, and work toward pumping new investments into this sector in a way that supported the sustainability of natural resources.
Fouad said the campaign would run for three years and promote ecotourism through a website and social media accounts, and that there would be a new visitor center in the Ras Mohamed and Fayoum reserves. People from the local community would also be involved through sustainable job opportunities. 
The minister said that natural reserves were receiving the attention and support of the political leadership, therefore the reserves were developed and managed according to international standards in order to preserve them, maximize economic, social and cultural development and preserve Egypt’s rich biological diversity in a way that supported the environment and national economy by attracting more investment in the ecotourism sector.
Heikal said the campaign was an opportunity to clarify the message that tourism did not undermine efforts to develop and preserve the environment, including nature reserves, as an attractive source for tourism.
Al-Anani said there was ministry cooperation in many fields to revitalize tourism, which is one of the pillars of the national economy, including the Ministry of Environment’s decision to reduce fees for day trips to reserves in the governorates of South Sinai and the Red Sea, and fees for daily cruises until the end of next March.