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Former Nissan boss makes first public appearance since fleeing Japan

He claims Japanese prosecutors said they would go after his family if he did not confess.

Carlos Ghosn faces the media in Beirut, Lebanon.
Carlos Ghosn faces the media in Beirut, Lebanon.
Image: AP/PA Images

FORMER NISSAN CHAIRMAN Carlos Ghosn has claimed Japanese prosecutors told him to confess or they would turn their attention to his family, he claimed today in his first public appearance since his escape. 

Ghosn fled Japan and made his way to Beirut in the Lebanon where he gave a press conference outlining what he described as the “flawed” case against him.

Ghosn, who is Lebanese and also holds French and Brazilian passports, was set to go on trial in Japan in April. In statements, he has said he fled to avoid “political persecution” by a “rigged Japanese justice system”. He also said that he alone organised his departure from Japan and that his wife, Carole, played no role.

He is charged in Japan with under-reporting his future compensation and breach of trust. He has repeatedly asserted his innocence, saying authorities trumped up charges to prevent a possible fuller merger between Nissan and Renault. 

Addressing international media today, he claimed that prosecutors attempted to coerce a confession from him. 

He said: “I pleaded my innocence while constrained with handcuffs and bound by a leash around my waist which was used to walk me into the courtroom.

“I had just spent Christmas alone and in confinement and hadn’t spoken or seen my family in six weeks 

“I had spent the previous months being interrogated for eight hours a day without any lawyers present, without access to evidence that justified the travesty against my human rights.

“It will get worse for you if you just don’t confess’ the prosecutors told me repeatedly. If you don’t confess, not only are we going to go after you, but after your family too.”

Ghosn’s escape has perplexed Japanese authorities after he skipped bail and managed to flee the country despite supposedly rigorous surveillance.

Media reports have said that he left his residence alone, met two men at a Tokyo hotel, and then took a bullet train to Osaka before boarding a private jet hidden inside a case for musical equipment. He flew to Istanbul and was then transferred onto another plane bound for Beirut, where he arrived on December 30.

Lebanese authorities have said Ghosn entered the country on a legal passport, casting doubt on the possibility they would hand him over to Japan. Lebanon last week received an Interpol-issued wanted notice – a non-binding request to law enforcement agencies worldwide that they locate and provisionally arrest a fugitive.

WIth reporting by PA

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