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Thursday, 20 February 2020

Lebanese investigators question ex-Nissan boss Ghosn: Source

Ghosn was questioned on Thursday under the supervision of the prosecutor in Beirut, a judicial source said, after he was summoned over an Interpol warrant issued by Japan seeking his arrest on financial misconduct charges

Reuters , Thursday 9 Jan 2020
 Carlos Ghosn
Pedestrians pass by a huge screen showing a news program featuring former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn in Tokyo on January 9, 2020. (Photo: AFP)
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Former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn was questioned on Thursday under the supervision of the prosecutor in Beirut, a judicial source said, after he was summoned over an Interpol warrant issued by Japan seeking his arrest on financial misconduct charges.

Ghosn, 65, fled Japan to Lebanon, his childhood home, last month as he was awaiting trial on charges of under-reporting earnings, breach of trust and misappropriation of company funds, all of which he denies.

Ghosn's lawyer in Lebanon could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday.

The Brazilian-born Ghosn said during a news conference in Beirut on Wednesday he had escaped to Lebanon to clear his name and was ready to stand trial anywhere he could get a fair hearing.

Ghosn was being questioned at the Justice Palace in Beirut in front of an official in the department of criminal investigations, General Maurice Abu Zidan, and under the supervision of the prosecutor, the judicial source and the state news agency said.

Ghosn said on Wednesday he was ready to stay for a long time in Lebanon, which does not allow the extradition of its nationals, and a source close to the 65-year-old has said his legal team is pushing for him to be tried in the country.

In addition to the Interpol warrant, Ghosn is being questioned over a formal legal complaint filed against him by a group of Lebanese lawyers who accuse him of "normalisation" with Israel over a visit he made there in 2008.

Ghosn said on Wednesday he had made the trip as a French citizen and an executive of Renault to sign a contract with a state-backed Israeli firm to sell electric vehicles, and had been obliged to go because the board had requested it.

He said apologised for the trip and said he had not meant to hurt the people of Lebanon, which deems Israel an enemy state.

During the visit, Ghosn met Israel's former prime minister Ehud Olmert, who was premier at the time of the 2006 war between Israel and the Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah.

Nearly 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, died in the 2006 war and 158 people died in Israel, mostly soldiers.

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