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.


Turkey: EU sanctions on Turkish firm over Libya embargo show bias

Updated 22 September 2020

Turkey: EU sanctions on Turkish firm over Libya embargo show bias

  • The EU on Monday froze the assets of Avrasya Shipping
  • ‘EU’s Irini Operation is rewarding Haftar, and punishing the UN-recognized Libyan Government’

ISTANBUL: Turkey said on Tuesday the European Union sanctions on a Turkish firm accused of breaking a UN arms embargo on Libya displayed the EU’s double standard and biased stance.
The EU on Monday froze the assets of Avrasya Shipping, whose cargo vessel Cirkin was involved in a naval incident between NATO members France and Turkey in June.
The EU has accused the company of using the ship to smuggle weapons to Libya. Ankara denies the arms-trafficking claim and says the ship was carrying humanitarian aid.
“The EU’s Irini Operation is rewarding Haftar, and punishing the UN-recognized Libyan Government,” Turkey’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday, referring to the EU’s military mission in the Mediterranean to stop arms from reaching warring factions in Libya.
Ankara has supported Libya’s internationally recognized Government of National Accord based in Tripoli. Eastern Libya and much of the south, however, is controlled by Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), which is backed by Egypt and Russia.
“Overlooking those countries and companies, starting with the UAE, that send weapons from land and air to the putschist Haftar in violation of the (United Nations Security Council) decisions, while the support provided to the legitimate government ... is deemed an embargo violation, is a clear signal that the EU is ... biased,” Turkey’s foreign ministry said.
In addition to sanctions on the Turkish company, the EU also imposed sanctions on two Libyan men, and two other companies – Kazakhstan’s Sigma Airlines and Jordan’s Med Wave Shipping.
Turkey may also face EU sanctions due to a dispute with Greece and Cyprus over ownership of natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean, although tensions between Ankara and Athens have declined in recent days.
“When effort is being made to decrease the tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, taking such a wrong decision is unfortunate,” Turkey’s foreign ministry said, referring to the sanctions on Avrasya Shipping.