Japanese Officials Break Silence on Carlos Ghosn Bail Jump Escapade

Japanese authorities have broken their silence on the escape from their country of former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn, dismissing claims that what motivated his dramatic bail-jump was fear that he wouldnt get a fair trial.

“What this shows is simple: He didnt want to submit to the judgment of our nations courts and sought to avoid the punishment for his own crimes,” said Tokyo deputy chief prosecutor Takahiro Saito, The Wall Street Journal reported. “There is no room to justify such an action.”

In her first official public comments on the case, Japans Justice Minister Masako Mori said Sunday that Ghosns escape to Lebanon is “unjustifiable” and probably involved “illegal methods.”

When Ghosn escaped in what The Journal reported was a box used for audio gear, he was out on bail after months of extended detention. He was awaiting trial over multiple counts of financial misconduct, allegations that he has denied.

Ghosn is believed to have flown from the Japanese city of Osaka to Istanbul, in Turkey, and then to Beirut in Lebanon.

Seven people in Turkey were arrested in connection with Ghosns escape—four pilots, a cargo company manager, and two airport workers, the BBC reported.

Junichiro Hironaka, chief lawyer
Junichiro Hironaka, chief lawyer of the former Nissan Motor chairman Carlos Ghosn, speaks to reporters in Tokyo on Dec. 31, 2019. (Kyodo/via Reuters)

The Charges

Ghosn was first arrested in November 2018, with part of the allegations centering around his failure to report compensation that was promised to him. The former executive said those payments were never decided on.

Other charges of breach of trust involve Nissan money allegedly diverted to Ghosn for personal gain, including payments in Oman and Saudi Arabia. Ghosn said those payments were for legitimate services.

Japanese prosecutors have released few specifics about his charges, saying they would do so at the trial. If convicted on all counts, Ghosn could face the maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

Ghosn has repeatedly asserted his innocence, saying Japanese authorities trumped up charges against him to prevent a possible fuller merger between Nissan Motor Co. and Renault.

Nissan's former chairman Carlos Ghosn
Nissan's former chairman Carlos Ghosn
A screen grab from a video provided by Hironaka Law Office, shows Nissans former chairman Carlos Ghosn, speaking on April 9, 2019, before he was re-arrested in Tokyo. (Hironaka Law Office via Getty Images)

Rigged Justice System

In a statement Tuesday, he said he fled to avoid “political persecution” by a “rigged Japanese justice system.” He has promised to speak with reporters next week.

Japans Justice Minister dismissed claims that Ghosns ability to receive a fair trial in Japan was impaired.

“Our countrys criminal justice system sets out appropriate procedures to clarify the truth of cases and is administered appropriately, while guaranteeing basic individual human rights. Flight by a defendant on bail is unjustifiable,” Mori said in a statement, Read More – Source

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