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Former Nissan-Renault chief Carlos Ghosn, out on bail, leaves Japan for Lebanon

Carlos Ghosn
Former Nissan-Renault Chairman Carlos Ghosn in April 2018 during an interview in Hong Kong.
(Kin Cheung / Associated Press)

Carlos Ghosn has left Japan, where he was on bail, and has arrived in his parents’ native Lebanon, according to a source close to the former Nissan-Renault chairman’s family and a professional associate.

Ghosn, once celebrated for his turnaround of the ailing car companies, has suffered one of the decade’s most dramatic corporate falls from grace, arrested in Japan in November 2018 under four charges of financial misconduct, which he denies.

He landed at Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport late Sunday, according to an associate of Ghosn. Local media reported that he arrived in a private jet, which the Financial Times was unable immediately to confirm.

It is unclear whether the carmaker’s former chairman has jumped bail in Japan or if the terms of his bail have been significantly adjusted from its stringent conditions, under which he was not allowed to see his Lebanese wife without being granted special permission. Japanese and Lebanese authorities were not immediately available for comment.

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The terms of Ghosn’s detention meant he could leave his apartment while on bail, but he was followed by three agencies — the police, prosecutors and a private detective thought to be hired by the company he once saved from bankruptcy.

Nissan alleges that Ghosn understated his personal pay, and two filings say he failed to report more than $80 million in deferred compensation.

Ghosn has denied all charges against him from the Japanese prosecutor. Japan’s Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission in mid-December disputed some findings of a Nissan internal probe.

However, the regulator also fined Nissan $22 million over allegations that it understated Ghosn’s pay over a four-year period.

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Ghosn holds Lebanese, French and Brazilian citizenship and was long considered one of Lebanon’s most successful expatriate businesspeople. He is a partner in several Lebanese businesses, including a winery, and the Lebanese government advocated on his behalf after his arrest last year.

Japanese prosecutors built part of their case using evidence from a laptop obtained in Lebanon from one of Ghosn’s aides, the Financial Times reported in May.

© The Financial Times Ltd. 2019. All rights reserved. FT and Financial Times are trademarks of the Financial Times Ltd. Not to be redistributed, copied or modified in any way.


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