Thursday 23 January 2020

Ghosn stories: Former Nissan boss details the 'conspiracy' that made him flee from Japan

Conspiracy claims: Carlos Ghosn poses for a selfie with a Lebanese journalist after his press conference in Beirut
Conspiracy claims: Carlos Ghosn poses for a selfie with a Lebanese journalist after his press conference in Beirut

Fugitive former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn, speaking publicly for the first time since his dramatic escape from Japanese justice, told reporters in Beirut he had been treated "brutally" by Tokyo prosecutors he accused of conspiring with the car maker to oust him.

Speaking defiantly, the one-time titan of the car industry told a packed news conference yesterday he would not have faced a fair trial in Japan and would have been tied up in appeals there for five years.

The 65-year-old fled Japan last month where he was awaiting trial on charges of under-reporting earnings, breach of trust and misappropriation of company funds, all of which he denies.

Mr Ghosn said he had fled to his childhood home of Lebanon to clear his name.

"You are going to die in Japan or you are going to have to get out," he said, describing his feelings. "I felt like the hostage of a country I served for 17 years."

Mr Ghosn named Masakazu Toyoda, an independent director at Nissan and a special adviser to the Japanese cabinet; Nissan's ex-auditor Hidetoshi Imazu; and the car company's former executive vice president Hitoshi Kawaguchi as the main architects of his downfall.

"Why have they spent 14 months trying to break my spirit, barring any contact with my wife?" Mr Ghosn said of the Japanese authorities. Turkish and Japanese authorities are investigating how Mr Ghosn was smuggled out to Beirut. Interpol has issued a "red notice" seeking his arrest.

Reuters

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