Carlos Ghosn States His Case

Former Nissan Motor chairman Carlos Ghosn has given his first press conference since fleeing Japan, and he took aim at the Japanese automaker and the country's judicial system.

The press conference in Beirut on Wednesday was his first appearance since his escape from Japan. He said the decision to flee was the most difficult of his life.

Former Nissan Motor chairman Carlos Ghosn has been charged with understating his executive compensation in Nissan securities reports and aggravated breach of trust over suspected misappropriation of Nissan funds.

The Tokyo District Court released him from jail in April under terms including a ban on overseas travel.
But Ghosn escaped to Lebanon late last month.

About a hundred media outlets from around the world were invited to the conference. Most Japanese media were not.

In his news conference, Ghosn accused Japan's judicial system of violating the basic principles of human rights. He said prosecutors and Nissan executives colluded to organize his arrest.

The former chairman said he fled because he did not believe he would be given a fair trial. He cited Japan's unusually high conviction rate and said there is a presumption of guilt.

In the news conference, Ghosn gave no details of how he engineered his escape. But he is believed to have flown by private jet from Kansai airport in Osaka to Turkey, where he boarded another private jet to Lebanon. Turkish newspaper Aksam reported that he avoided immigration procedures in Japan by hiding in boxes.

Ghosn said he believes his arrest was engineered because he pushed for a merger between Nissan and French automaker Renault. In the news conference, he named members of Nissan's board that he believes were involved.

Japanese Justice Minister Masako Mori spoke to reporters shortly after Ghosn's news conference.

Japan's justice minister, Masako Mori, responded swiftly with a 1 a.m. news conference.
She said Ghosn should prove in court that he is innocent of the crimes he is accused of, and said fleeing to another country to avoid a criminal trial is unforgivable.

Mori said Ghosn painted a mistaken view of Japan's legal system in order to justify his escape.
She said the ministry will respond to questions so that Japan's criminal justice system is properly understood by the rest of the world.

Former Nissan Motor President Hiroto Saikawa

Former Nissan Motor President Hiroto Saikawa was one of those accused by Ghosn of colluding to oust him. Saikawa flatly rejected the claim.
He said if that was all Ghosn wanted to say, he could have said it in Japan.

Nissan Motor says it will not respond to Ghosn's remarks, but the company said before the news conference that Ghosn's flight will not affect Nissan's basic policy of holding him to account. The company said it will keep pursuing appropriate legal action for the harm he caused Nissan.

Nissan released in September a summary of its internal investigation. It said the company lost over 35 billion yen, or about 330 million dollars.

Ghosn has finally had his say, but it won't stop Japanese authorities trying to bring him to trial. They have asked Interpol to put him on an international wanted list. Lebanon has no extradition treaty with Japan, though, so this is a legal drama with no denouement in sight.