Millennium Post

Japanese official to visit Lebanon seeking Ghosn's return

Tokyo: Japan will send its Vice Justice Minister to Lebanon to seek the extradition of ousted Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn who fled to Beirut from Tokyo last December, it was announced on Friday.

On Saturday, Vice Justice Minister Hiroyuki Yoshiie will travel to Beirut for a four-day visit and was expected to meet with Lebanon's Justice Minister Marie-Claude Najm, among other people, to discuss Ghosn's return, Efe news quoted Japan's Justice Minister Masako Mori as saying in a statement.

"We must consider various elements, including Lebanon's domestic laws and Japan's position," Mori said.

"We would like Lebanon to correctly understand Japan's criminal justice system, and strengthen cooperation in the judicial field," she added.

Ghosn, 65, was on bail in Tokyo awaiting trial expected for April 2020 over alleged financial misconduct while serving as Nissan chief.

In violation of his bail conditions, the former head of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance left Japan on the night of December 29, 2019 aboard a private jet from the Kansai International Airport in Osaka.

Ghosn was seen leaving his Tokyo home on a security camera which was installed at his residence under his bail conditions.

He landed in Beirut on December 31 after a stopover in Turkey with a French passport and his Lebanese identity card, as reported by authorities in Beirut at the time.

The former Nissan chief, who has triple nationality (French, Lebanese and Brazilian), said from Beirut that he was not confident to have a fair trial and claimed to have left Japan to escape "injustice and political persecution".

Tokyo has been requesting his extradition through Interpol, but Lebanon and Japan do not have an extradition treaty, so the possibility of Ghosn being arrested is weak. However, Interpol orders could restrict his movement and activities abroad.

Japanese prosecutors have also obtained a new arrest warrant for him, on the suspicion he left the country illegally.

Ghosn is accused in Japan of financial misconduct, including underreporting his compensation from Nissan and misappropriation of the company's assets for personal gain.

He was first arrested on November 19, 2018 and then on April 25, 2019.

He was later released on bail, with restrictions on communications and movement, and a ban on leaving the country.

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