TOKYO – Lebanon has received an arrest warrant from Interpol for former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn, who arrived in the country earlier in the week from Japan, where he was awaiting trial over alleged financial irregularities.
Justice Minister Albert Serhan said that the Lebanese prosecutor had received a “red notice” from the international criminal police organization, according to state news agency ANN and other local media.
The request asks the Lebanese authorities to preventively arrest Ghosn, pending extradition or a similar mechanism.
Earlier in the day, Japanese state media reported that the businessman had two French passports, one of which he used in order to get into Lebanon.
The former Nissan chairperson has Lebanese, Brazilian and French citizenship and holds two passports for the latter – one of which he used at Beirut customs, according to NHK.
Initially, all of Ghosn’s passports were with the lawyers, but in May a Japanese court allowed the former Nissan chief to keep one of the two French passports after his bail conditions were changed.
He reportedly held it in a locked case, the keys to which were with his lawyers, according to sources NHK cited.
Ghosn, 65, was on bail in Tokyo since April 25 and awaiting trial for April 2020 over financial irregularities, appeared Tuesday in Lebanon after leaving Japan clandestinely.
Japanese authorities Thursday entered the former CEO’s house in Tokyo to investigate how he could have left the country.
Ghosn was under house arrest in Tokyo and his lawyers were required to have his passports. One of Ghosn’s lawyers, Junichiro Hironaka said Tuesday he still held his passports.
Lebanese authorities have said Ghosn entered the country with a Lebanese ID and a French passport. He reached Beirut in a private jet with a stopover in Turkey.
Ghosn said Tuesday he left Japan to escape “injustice and political persecution.” He did not reveal details on his departure to Beirut and according to official Japanese sources, there are no records of him leaving the country.
Hours later, Ghosn confirmed he was in Beirut, his bail was revoked while some 1.5-billion yen ($13.8 million) he deposited were seized.
French authorities, meanwhile, said they would not extradite the disgraced former Nissan boss should he travel to France.
Agnes Pannier-Runcaher, the secretary of state for economy and finances, told BFM TV: “If Ghosn came to France, we would not extradite him because France doesn’t do that with its citizens, it’s a rule.”
She said France would offer consular assistance to Ghosn in Lebanon “as with any other citizen,” although disagreed with the businessman’s decision to flee from Japan.
Turkey’s state media said seven Turkish citizens were arrested in relation to Ghosn’s escape from Japan to Lebanon via the Ataturk Cargo Airport in Istanbul.
The Anadolu Agency said the four of the detained were pilots from a private aviation company, two were employees of a ground services company and on was the director of a private cargo company.