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Ex-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn has fled Japan for Lebanon CNN Business


Tokyo / Hong Kong / New York (CNN Business)Carlos Ghosn has arrived in Lebanon after fleeing Japan, where he faced charges of financial wrongdoing, in a dramatic escape from what the former auto industry boss called a "rigged" justice system.

The sudden flight under mysterious circumstances is the latest twist in a legal saga that has resulted in Ghosn's ouster as chairman of Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors, and his resignation as chairman and CEO of alliance partner Renault.

Ghosn confirmed in a statement Tuesday that he had arrived in Lebanon, saying that he would "no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system where guilt is presumed, discrimination is rampant, and basic human rights are denied."

It's not clear how Ghosn — who is a citizen of France, Brazil and Lebanon — was able to leave Japan before his trial took place. Ghosn's lawyer Junichiro Hironaka told reporters Tuesday that the departure of his client, who faced a lengthy potential prison sentence, was a "complete surprise."

"We are puzzled and shocked," he said in front of TV cameras gathered outside his office in Tokyo. Hironaka added that Ghosn's attorneys hold his passports, and that the former auto executive "could not possibly use them."

The Wall Street Journal quoted an anonymous source as saying that Ghosn was "tired of being an industrial political hostage." The newspaper also said that Ghosn arrived in Lebanon via Turkey.

Carlos Ghosn says prosecutors 'colluded' with Nissan and Japanese officials to bring him down

Carlos Ghosn says prosecutors 'colluded' with Nissan and Japanese officials to bring him down

Ghosn faces a litany of criminal charges in Japan, including allegations that he understated his income for years and funneled $5 million of Nissan's money to a car dealership he controlled. He has repeatedly denied the charges and has claimed that his ouster and arrest were part of a plot to remove him from the global carmaking alliance he built.

He said in the statement Tuesday that he has "not fled justice — I have escaped injustice and political persecution." The media savvy executive said he also looked forward to communicating "freely" with journalists starting next week.


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