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Lebanon receives Interpol arrest notice for former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn

Carlos Ghosn in Tokyo on April 25, 2019.
Carlos Ghosn in Tokyo on April 25, 2019. Issei Kato, Reuters

The family of Carlos Ghosn played no role in his escape from Japan, the former Nissan boss said in a statement Thursday, hours after Lebanon received an Interpol "red notice" calling for authorities to arrest him.

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Lebanon received an Interpol arrest warrant on Thursday for fugitive former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn, while Turkey launched an investigation into his daring escape from Japan.

Ghosn has become an international fugitive after he revealed on Tuesday he had fled to Lebanon to escape what he called a “rigged” justice system in Japan.

The Interpol red notice, which calls on authorities to arrest a wanted person, was received by Lebanon’s internal security forces and has yet to be referred to the judiciary, a judicial source told Reuters, Lebanese government officials could not immediately be reached to say what - if any - action would be taken.

In past cases, where Lebanon has received red notices for Lebanese citizens resident in the country, the suspects have not been detained but their passports have been confiscated and bail has been set, the judicial source said.

Ghosn, who holds French, Lebanese and Brazilian citizenship, was smuggled out of Tokyo by a private security company, a plan that was in the works for three months and involved transit through Turkey, Reuters has reported.

Turkish police on Thursday detained seven people, including four pilots, as part of an investigation into Ghosn’s passage through the country, a police spokeswoman said.

She said the other detainees were two airport ground staff and one cargo worker and all seven were expected to give statements in court on Thursday.

Flight tracking data suggests Ghosn used two different planes to fly to Istanbul and then to Lebanon.

Sources close to Ghosn said he decided to flee Japan after learning that the second of his two trials had been delayed until April 2021 and also because he had not been allowed to speak to his wife as part of strict bail conditions.

Lebanon has no extradition agreement with Japan and Ghosn enjoys widespread support in the country of his childhood, where he holds extensive investments in banking and real estate.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK said on Thursday Japanese authorities allowed Ghosn to carry a spare French passport in a locked case while out on bail, potentially shedding some light on how he managed to escape despite having passports held by Japanese lawyers.

No one was immediately available for comment at the office of Ghosn’s lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka, or at the French embassy in Tokyo, or at the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office.

(REUTERS)

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