By MOMOKO KIDERA
Lebanon’s judicial authorities have rejected a request from Japan to extradite former Nissan Motor Co. chairman Carlos Ghosn, who jumped bail and fled to the Middle Eastern country at the end of last year.
If Ghosn is suspected of committing any crimes, he will stand trial in Lebanon and not be handed over to Japan, a Lebanese judicial official in charge of the matter told the Nikkei Asian Review.
Ghosn, 65, traveled to Lebanon in violation of his bail terms on Dec. 29 and is now staying in Beirut. He fled as he awaited trial on financial misconduct charges, which he denies.
Nikkei asked Lebanon’s judicial authorities about the current situation and future proceedings, and received a reply via the country’s court by Wednesday.
Earlier this month, Interpol issued a wanted notice for Ghosn at the request of Japanese investigators calling for member countries to detain him.
The Lebanese judicial official in charge pointed out that a Lebanese judge had banned Ghosn from traveling abroad in response to the Interpol notice.
But Lebanon cannot arrest Ghosn, who is a Lebanese national, on the basis of the charges filed against him in Japan. Lebanon is now waiting for materials related to his case from Japan, and will scrutinize them once received, the official said.
In addition to seeking cooperation through Interpol, the Japanese government is expected to call for Lebanon to extradite Ghosn through diplomatic negotiations.
Although Japan can request a criminal trial from Lebanon, it is believed to be unlikely to happen as it would follow procedures based on Lebanese law.
‘I was scared to stay in Japan”, Interview
The former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn shocked the world when he escaped from Japan, where he was awaiting trial on financial misconduct charges, to Lebanon just before the New Year. Speaking publicly for the first time since that latest twist in his saga, the ex-auto tycoon lashed out at Japan on Jan 8, saying he’d been treated ‘brutally’ by prosecutors. On Jan9 , Ghosn sat down for an interview with FRANCE 24’s Marc Perelman.