Nissan, in a statement issued today, termed former chairman Carlos Ghosn’s escape to Lebanon “extremely regrettable.” Ghosn fled Japan on December 31, 2019, where he has been held on bail while awaiting charges for alleged financial misconduct.
Nissan's official statement reads, "As stated by the public prosecutor’s office, former chairman Carlos Ghosn’s escape to the Lebanese Republic without the court’s permission in violation of his bail conditions is an act that defies Japan’s judicial system. Nissan finds it extremely regrettable.
"Nissan discovered numerous acts of misconduct by Ghosn through a robust, thorough internal investigation. The company determined that he was not fit to serve as an executive, and removed him from all offices. The internal investigation found incontrovertible evidence of various acts of misconduct by Ghosn, including misstatement of his compensation and misappropriation of the company’s assets for his personal benefit. The consequences of Ghosn’s misconduct have been significant. In addition to his prosecution in Japan, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission concluded that Ghosn’s conduct, including his schemes to underreport his compensation, was fraudulent. Investigations in France concerning possible misconduct are still ongoing. Nissan will continue to do the right thing by cooperating with judicial and regulatory authorities wherever necessary.
"Ghosn’s flight will not affect Nissan’s basic policy of holding him responsible for the serious misconduct uncovered by the internal investigation. The company will continue to take appropriate legal action to hold Ghosn accountable for the harm that his misconduct has caused to Nissan."
Ghosn to speak to media this week
Carlos Ghosn was arrested in Japan on November 19, 2018 on charges relating to his time as chairman of Nissan. The numerous charges include misusing company assets, underreporting his income and transferring personal investment losses onto Nissan foreign exchange dealing.
After spending 108 days in custody he was released on bail, with strict conditions that barred him from travelling abroad. His trial was due to begin in April 2020. In Japan, Ghosn had been under constant surveillance, with restricted phone and internet usage, while his three passports – he has French, Brazilian and Lebanese heritage – are held by his Japanese lawyer.
After arriving in Beirut, the 65-year-old issued a statement to the media, saying: “I have not fled justice. I have escaped injustice and political persecution.”
He went on to attack the Japanese legal system, in which he claims “guilt is presumed, discrimination is rampant, and basic human rights are denied, in flagrant disregard of Japan’s legal obligations under international law and treaties it is bound to uphold”.
He continued: “I can now finally communicate freely with the media,” adding that he would start to do so over the next few days.
Ghosn, who was born in Brazil, has Lebanese parents and lived in the country from the age of six until he left to attend university in Paris. Notably, Lebanon has no extradition agreement with Japan.