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Ghosn says he was treated brutally by Japan

Carlos Ghosn claimed he would not have faced a fair trial in Japan and would have been tied up in appeals for 5 years

By Reuters in Beirut
  • Published 9.01.20, 1:40 AM
  • Updated 9.01.20, 3:48 AM
  • a min read
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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. File picture

Carlos Ghosn, speaking publicly for the first since his dramatic escape from Japanese justice, told reporters in Beirut he had been treated “brutally” by Tokyo prosecutors and was the victim of a conspiracy to oust him from the helm of automaker Nissan.

Wearing a blue suit and red tie and speaking defiantly, the one-time titan of the car industry told a packed news conference on Wednesday 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.

Ghosn said he had escaped to his childhood home of Lebanon to clear his name. He declined to say how he fled, noting there were conflicting stories about his departure.

“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,” he told reporters crowded into Lebanon’s seaside Beirut press syndicate.

Others waited outside in heavy rain, including some Japanese media who had been excluded from the briefing.

“The charges against me are baseless,” Ghosn added, repeating his allegation that Nissan and Japanese authorities colluded to oust him following a downturn in Nissan’s fortunes and in revenge for French government interference in the carmaker’s alliance with Renault.

Ghosn’s news conference marks the latest twist in a 14-month saga, jeopardised the Renault-Nissan alliance of which Ghosn was the brain.

“Defendant Ghosn’s allegations completely ignore his own conduct and his one sided criticism of the Japanese criminal justice system is totally unacceptable,” the Tokyo prosecutor’s office said in a statement on its website.