- Carlos Ghosn’s safety in Lebanon is seeming increasingly perilous as details of his escapade trickle out.
- The former auto executive may have broken Lebanese law with prior trips to Israel, The Washington Post reported.
- Ghosn is expected to give a press conference in the coming days — when he’ll have plenty of questions to answer.
- Follow Business Insider’s full coverage of the international fugitive here.
As details began to trickle out this week of former auto executive Carlos Ghosn’s mysterious escape from Japan to Beirut, there are still more questions than answers.
In Japan, the 65-year-old was under strict surveillance while awaiting trial on charges of financial misconduct as part of his multimillion dollar bail agreement. If convicted, he could face a 15-year prison sentence — a real possibility given Japan’s extremely high conviction rate.
However, his April trial seems unlikely to happen so long as he’s holed up in Lebanon, which does not have an extradition treaty with Japan.
Now, all eyes have turned to Japanese authorities to explain themselves — and on Ghosn to explain what comes next.
A press conference is expected in the coming days, where Ghosn could elaborate on the “injustice and political persecution” he says he escaped.
“I have not fled justice,” he said Tuesday upon his landing in Lebanon, which he apparently reached via Turkey and a private jet charter, per Bloomberg. ” “I have escaped injustice and political persecution.”
In a brief follow-up statement on Thursday, Ghosn sought to discredit reports that his wife or other family had aided in his flight.
“There has been speculation in the media that my wife Carole, and other members of my family played a role in my departure from Japan,” he said through a US-based representative retained since his escape. “All such speculation is inaccurate and false. I alone arranged for my departure. My family had no role whatsoever.”
Turkey, for its part, has detained seven people including four pilots it accuses of aiding in his travel, and Interpol has issued a warning to Lebanon for his arrest.
But while Lebanon only has extradition treaties with the US and South Korea, Ghosn might not be as safe as he thinks — even in a country that loves him enough to put his face on billboards and postage stamps.
A group of lawyers on Thursday sent a complaint to Lebanon’s judiciary, The Washington Post reported, alleging his visits to Israel violate Lebanon’s laws that forbid contact with the country, a major enemy of Lebanon.
“If he thinks that he actually could be protected here, it’s not going to happen, because according to Lebanese law he visited Israel, which is an enemy state,” a Lebanese political analyst told the paper.
Now, the world waits.