Carlos Ghosn had been under arrest in Japan awaiting trial over serious allegations of financial misconduct during his tenure as CEO of the Renault-Nissan partnership. Ghosns’ financial misconduct was a complex operation according to Japanese reports. However it’s very simple to understand, he used the Renault-Nissan partnership as his personal bank account. He had assumed so much power and control that his actions went unaccounted for a long time. After all, you don’t question the man who is credited for turning around the fortunes of two once ailing giants.
But behind the scenes, Nissan was working with Japanese authorities to unravel a string of financial irregularities that directly involved Ghosn. When the CEO entered Japan for a scheduled meeting in November 2018 he was arrested on the spot. He was imprisoned and later released on bail and has been living under-arrest in Japan awaiting trial ever since.
On new years day Ghosn touched down in his ancestral homeland of Lebanon, he had fled Japan on a private jet. How he managed to usurp strict bail conditions and leave the country unnoticed is a mystery that will be told in full one day. Ghosn has continually cited that the Japanese legal system is not fit for purpose. Or should that be not fit for his personal purposes?
Ghosn also cited what could amount to a conspiracy theory, specifically that the Japanese establishment is against him. But either way one can make the same argument about any legal system anywhere in the world. If Carlos Ghosn felt he was innocent then he should have stayed the course of his detention and proved his innocence in a court of law.
Having fled Japan illegally Ghosn rubber-stamped the accusations of his personal corruption, he has essentially admitted liability for everything. Fleeing to Lebanon will not work. He may have a few years of living a comfortable life. But politics and politicians change and Ghosn will one day be viewed as a diplomatic problem.
That is already happening. While Ghosn is seen as a hero to the financial and political class of Lebanon. But the general public views him as a wealthy out-of-touch elite who has past dealings with Israel during his tenure as Renault-Nissan CEO. Lebanon has been at war with Israel for the last 60 years, Ghosn is already being seen as a traitor by the wider public of Lebanon.
So there will be a time when even the Lebanese politicians will have to dissociate themselves with Ghosn. Now Interpol has issued an international arrest warrant for Ghosn. Ghosn is out of reach of the Japanese legal system and living in luxury in Lebanon. For the time being Lebanon has said it will not extradite Ghosn.
There is no extradition treaty between Lebanon and Japan, so, for now, Ghosn is safe. But it will not last because Ghosn is a diplomatic problem for Lebanon and with the instability and corruption of the Lebanese government Ghosn will be sold out at the right time and at the right price.