Lebanese legal trio files claim against Carlos Ghosn over Israel visits

Lebanon has been issued with a “red notice” from Interpol for Ghosn's arrest. (AFP)
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Updated 03 January 2020

Lebanese legal trio files claim against Carlos Ghosn over Israel visits

  • Lawyers filed report demanding ousted Nissan boss be prosecuted for violating Lebanese law
  • Lebanon has been issued with a “red notice” from Interpol for Ghosn’s arrest

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.


Israel strikes Hamas positions in Gaza over fire balloons

Updated 5 min 38 sec ago

Israel strikes Hamas positions in Gaza over fire balloons

JERUSALEM: The Israeli military said Wednesday it carried out overnight strikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip after incendiary balloons were launched across the border from the Palestinian enclave.
The army said the strikes were “retaliation” for the launching of multiple balloons from the Hamas-run enclave in recent days.
Jets, attack helicopters and tanks struck a number of Hamas targets including “underground infrastructure and observation posts,” a statement said.
Fire services in southern Israel said the balloons caused 60 fires on Tuesday alone but reported no casualties.
Explosives tied to balloons and kites first emerged as a weapon in Gaza during intense protests in 2018, when the makeshift devices drifted across the border daily, causing thousands of fires in Israeli farms and communities.
Israel has closed its Kerem Shalom goods crossing with the Gaza Strip in response to the recent balloon launches.
Hamas denounced the closure as an “aggressive” move that showed Israel’s “insistence on laying siege” to Gaza, and warned it could cause further worsening of the humanitarian situation in the territory.
As the Kerem Shalom crossing closed, the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt opened Tuesday for the first time since April.
Traffic in both directions was to be permitted for three days, allowing Gazans to leave the enclave for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
The Rafah crossing provides Gaza’s sole access to the outside world not controlled by Israel.
The Palestinian territory has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007.
Hamas and Israel have fought three wars since 2008.
Despite a truce last year, backed by the UN, Egypt and Qatar, the two sides clash sporadically with rockets, mortar fire or incendiary balloons.
Palestinian analysts say cross-border fire from Gaza is often used as a bargaining tool to secure Israel’s green light for the entry of Qatari financial aid into the territory.