Carlos Ghosn slips bail, flees to Lebanon . . .
Former Nissan CEO and Chairman Carlos Ghosn broke the conditions of his bail in Japan and fled to Lebanon via Turkey on December 30. Ghosn, a citizen of France, Brazil, and Lebanon, reportedly fled with the help of two private security professionals, one of whom is a former U.S. Marine, and hid in a musical instrument case before flying from Osaka to Istanbul and then to Beirut on private jets. Interpol issued a ‘red notice’ request for Ghosn’s arrest on January 2, officially making him an international fugitive. Ghosn was under house arrest in Japan after being charged with multiple instances of financial misconduct, including the massive under-reporting of his executive compensation over multiple years and aggravated breach of trust involving kickbacks from the transfer of billions of yen through Nissan affiliates in the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Saudi Arabia.
Executive turned around both Renault and Nissan . . .
Ghosn is known for transforming struggling automotive companies into profitable entities within very short timelines. He rose through the ranks at French tire maker Michelin and is credited with turning around its fortunes in the 1980s and 1990s before doing the same with French auto company Renault and Japan-based Nissan. At Renault he was known as “le Cost Killer.” Ghosn led the formation of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, founded in 1999, which is credited with rescuing the Japanese carmaker from near bankruptcy. Mitsubishi joined the Alliance in 2016 and today they act as a single car group, using common technologies, and buying parts from the same suppliers.
Cites impossibility of a fair trial . . .
It is unlikely that Ghosn will be arrested in Lebanon and sent to Japan as the two countries do not have an extradition treaty. Some reports suggest that he will be able to travel to France, with Paris recently confirming that it does not extradite French citizens as a matter of principle. Today, Ghosn presented his perspective at a press conference in Beirut, stating: “I did not escape justice. I fled injustice and persecution . . . It was a difficult decision and a risk one only takes if resigned to the impossibility of a fair trial.” But the case is far from over and authorities in Japan are determined to pursue the charges against him. Hours before Ghosn’s press conference, the offices of his lawyer in Tokyo were raided by police.