NISSAN’S fugitive ex-chairman Carlos Ghosn has described his detention conditions in Japan, from which he fled last month in a daring escape, as a ‘travesty’ against human rights and dignity.
Ghosn was defensive as he held a news conference in Beirut – his first appearance since fleeing Japan last month.
He said the decision to escape the country, where he was due to stand trial for alleged financial misconduct at the carmaker, ‘was the most difficult of my life’.
The former car industry titan dismissed all allegations against him as untrue, saying: ‘I should never have been arrested in the first place.’
‘I’m not above the law and I welcome the opportunity for the truth to come out and have my name cleared,’ he told a packed room of journalists.
Ghosn smuggled himself from Tokyo to Beirut in late December, arriving in the Lebanese capital where he grew up and is regarded by many as a national hero.
His daring and improbable escape has perplexed and embarrassed 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 on to another plane bound for Beirut, where he arrived on December 30.
Ghosn, who is Lebanese and also holds French and Brazilian passports, was expected to go on trial in Tokyo 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.
On Tuesday, Tokyo prosecutors obtained an arrest warrant for Mrs Ghosn on suspicion of perjury.
That charge is not related to his escape.
Lebanon’s justice minister said Lebanon has not received any request related to that warrant.
Japanese justice officials acknowledge that it is unclear whether the Ghosns can be brought back to Japan to face charges.
Ghosn’s former employer, Nissan Motor Co, said it was still pursuing legal action against him despite his escape, adding that Ghosn engaged in serious misconduct while leading the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance.
Ghosn denies all the charges against him.