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Former Nissan, Renault chief flees trial in Japan for Lebanon: report

Carlos Ghosn, the former chief executive of Nissan and Renault, has fled his upcoming trial in Japan by heading to Lebanon, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. 

Ghosn, who faces trial for alleged financial wrongdoing, arrived in Lebanon on Monday, people familiar with the matter told the Journal. The former CEO had been released from Japanese jail and permitted to leave his Tokyo home but was mandated to stay in Japan until his trial.

One person familiar with the matter told the newspaper that Ghosn did not think he was going to get a fair trial and was “tired of being an industrial political hostage.” 

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The former auto exec, who grew up in Lebanon, is expected to hold a press conference to discuss why he left the country, a source told the Journal.

Ghosn could face up to 15 years in prison after allegedly failing to report more than $80 million of planned future income in Nissan’s financial statements, sending $14.7 million in Nissan money to a Saudi friend and Nissan business partner, and redirecting $5 million designated for an Omani distributor for his own use. 

He has denied the allegations, saying they were put forward by disgruntled Nissan executives.

Ghosn was expected to face trial in April in a country where 99 percent of those indicted get convicted, according to the Journal.

He was arrested in November 2018 and spent four months in jail before being released on bail and told to stay in the country. Prosecutors had argued he should stay in prison, saying he was a flight risk. 

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