Lebanon says Carlos Ghosn entered country 'legally'

AFP , Tuesday 31 Dec 2019

File photo: This file photo taken on December 6, 2018 shows a portrait of ousted Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn on a publicity billboard in his support on a street in Beirut. (AFP)

Lebanon said Tuesday that former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn entered the country legally after slipping out of Japan where he was on bail awaiting trial over financial misconduct charges.

"He entered the country legally and there are no measures that warrant taking steps against him or prosecuting him," the country's General Security apparatus said in a statement.

The foreign ministry confirmed his "legal" entry at dawn on Monday.

"The circumstances of his leaving Japan and his arrival in Beirut are unknown," it said.

The 65-year-old businessman, who holds Lebanese, French and Brazilian nationalities, on Tuesday said he was in Lebanon.

The ministry said there was no accord for extradition or judicial cooperation between Lebanon and Japan, but that they had both signed a UN charter to fight corruption.

On that basis, "Lebanon has over the past years sent numerous official letters to Japan about Carlos Ghosn and received no response," it said.

It said Lebanon however aimed to maintain "the best relations" with Japan.

Ghosn stands accused of deferring part of his salary until after his retirement and concealing this from shareholders, as well as syphoning off millions in Nissan cash for his own purposes.

Ghosn has repeatedly denied all charges against him, and said that he fled to Lebanon to escape a "rigged" Japanese justice system.

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