BEIRUT: Three Lebanese lawyers have filed charges against fugitive auto tycoon Carlos Ghosn, claiming his visits to Israel as CEO of Nissan were in breach of the law.
Lawyer Jad Tohme, along with two colleagues Hassan Bazzi and Ali Abbas, filed a report demanding that the ousted Nissan boss be prosecuted for violating Lebanese law by visiting Israel to sign contracts and attend conferences.
Ghosn arrived in Lebanon on Sunday night after fleeing Japan, where he was expected to face trial on financial misconduct charges.
On Friday, the three lawyers were waiting for the prosecutor’s decision on the complaint.
Meanwhile, Lebanon has been issued with a “red notice” from Interpol for Ghosn’s arrest.
The request was received by Lebanon’s internal security forces on Thursday and is yet to be referred to the judiciary.
Commenting on the complaint filed by the three lawyers, judicial sources told Arab News that Ghosn “entered Israel with a French passport when he was leading one of the world’s largest automakers and not as a Lebanese citizen.”
“We based our complaint on press reports that Ghosn started to enter Israel in 2012 and the last time he visited was in 2017. We decided to file the complaint when Ghosn took refuge in Lebanon a few days ago, considering himself a Lebanese citizen,” Tohme said.
“When the Lebanese state considers Ghosn to be a Lebanese national and refuses to hand him over to Japan, it means that Lebanese nationality prevents Ghosn from dealing with the Israeli enemy. He cannot hide in Lebanon on the pretext that he is Lebanese but enter Israel on the pretext that he is French.”
The three lawyers have previously filed a complaint against Amer Al-Fakhouri, who ran the Israeli Khiam detention center in southern Lebanon before Israel’s withdrawal in 2000 and then fled to Israel and, later, to the US. Al-Fakhouri entered Lebanon last September where he stayed for days before his arrest based on the complaint.
“The criminal acts committed by the two men are quite different: Al-Fakhouri was running a detention facility, while Ghosn’s crime was that he entered enemy territory. In both cases, the two men returned to Lebanon with their Lebanese nationality,” said Tohme.
The three lawyers are part of a committee of lawyers defending demonstrators during protests that have been taking place since Oct. 17.
Tohme said that the complaints filed by the three lawyers since 2016 concern issues of national importance. “According to the legal provisions, the public prosecutor’s office must act automatically when it feels that there is an offense,” he added.