Ex-Nissan chief Ghosn flees Japan fearing unfair trial

Ousted chairman of Nissan and Renault Carlos Ghosn, above, who is facing corruption charges, skipped bail granted by a Japanese court and arrived in the Lebanese capital Beirut where he has a home, multiple agencies report.

It is not clear how Ghosn escaped Japan despite being under surveillance. A Lebanese newspaper said he flew in to Beirut via Turkey aboard a private jet.

Ghosn, a man of Lebanese origin, said he fled injustice and political persecution and did not want to be “held hostage” by a “rigged” Japanese justice system “where guilt is presumed.”  

The 65-year-old is set to face trial in April on charges of financial misconduct and breach of trust.

Ghosn’s lawyers argue the charges were part of a conspiracy to oust Ghosn to prevent a fuller merger with Nissan’s long-time alliance partner, Renault.

Prosecutors say Ghosn used Nissan’s funds for his own use and deceived shareholders by understanding his salary as the company’s CEO.

Ghosn has denied any wrongdoing.

His arrest on graft charges in November 2018 shocked the global car industry.

Soon after the arrest, he was sacked as chairman of Nissan and its partner firm Mitsubishi Motors. Renault removed him as CEO in January 2018.

Despite the arrest and court case pending against him, Ghosn is still popular among Lebanese politicians.

Some say he may be given a top government post to chart a way forward to revive Lebanon’s sagging economy.