Nissan ex-chair appears for 1st time in public after escape

Nissan ex-chair appears for 1st time in public after escape

Nissan ex-chair appears for 1st time in public after escape

The fugitive ex-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn has said the decision to flee Japan, where he was charged with financial misconduct, was the most hard of his life.

He appeared in public for the first time since his escape to Lebanon, speaking for about an hour before taking questions from media organizations hand-picked by him to attend. Most Japanese media organizations including Kyodo News were denied entry to the press event organized by a French company hired by Ghosn.

It is the first time Mr Ghosn has spoken publicly since he fled house arrest in Japan in a daring escape that reportedly involved him being smuggled out of the country in a flight case. He stressed he does not believe he is above the law.

"It is important for me to emphasize that I'm not above the law". Ries says he has visited Japan twice to prepare the book with Ghosn.

Displaying the energy and persuasiveness that helped him rise to the top of the global auto industry, Ghosn offered a point-by-point rebuttal of the accusations against him, while trashing the recent performance of the carmakers and worldwide alliance he formerly ran.

Earlier in the day, Tokyo prosecutors raided a Japanese lawyer's office that Ghosn had visited regularly before he fled.

Japanese investigative sources said Ghosn traveled to Osaka from Tokyo on a shinkansen bullet train on December 29, before flying out of Kansai International Airport on a private jet.

Ghosn had harsh words for the performance of the carmakers and their partnership since his arrest, describing it as "a masquerade of an alliance which is going nowhere".

Ghosn railed against his treatment by Japanese prosecutors at a press conference on Wednesday in Beirut, at which he tried to defend his reputation and disprove corruption allegations, including under-reporting his income from Nissan.

"The collusion between Nissan and prosecutors is everywhere", he said.

His arrest cast an unflattering light on Japan's legal system, where prosecutors can grill suspects repeatedly without their lawyers present and enjoy an nearly 100% conviction rate.

Ghosn helped lead Nissan back from the brink two decades ago, following its rescue by Renault. As the alliance between Renault and Nissan prospered - bringing in Mitsubishi Motors 2016 - Ghosn became the indispensable man at the center of the partnership. Under the terms of Ghosn's bail, the court had restricted contact with his family, including his wife Carole, with whom he was forbidden to speak without seeking permission. And in France, Renault alerted French authorities after an investigation found that Ghosn personally benefited from "an exchange worth 50,000 euros" related to a philanthropic accord signed with the Palace of Versailles.

April 9 - Ghosn claims his innocence and "conspiracy" by Nissan executives behind his arrest in video footage released by his lawyers. Ghosn says he is "now in Lebanon" in a statement released by his USA representative.

Media reports have said that he left his Tokyo residence alone, skipping out on his $14 million bail despite supposedly rigorous surveillance.

Ghosn held a highly-anticipated press conference on Wednesday from Beirut, Lebanon.

On Tuesday, Japanese authorities issued a warrant for the arrest of Mr Ghosn's wife Carole, who was accused of giving false testimony.

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