Carlos Ghosn, the ex-boss of Renault-Nissan who fled Japan where he was under house arrest, would not be extradited if he came to France, affirmed, Thursday January 2, the secretary of state near the minister economy and finance, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, on the BFM-TV channel :
“If Mr. Ghosn came to France, we will not extradite Mr. Ghosn, because France doesn’t[extrade] never its nationals; so we apply the same rules to Mr. Ghosn as to Mr. Everyone else, but that does not prevent us from thinking that Mr. Ghosn does not have to evade Japanese justice. “
After being indicted on four charges, released from bail in April 2019, Mr. Ghosn lived relatively free to move within Japan, under various conditions. The former president and chief executive officer of Renault-Nissan, who was preparing his trial to be held in 2020 in Japan, confirmed Tuesday to be in Lebanon from where he promises to speak “Freely” to the media on January 8.
The conditions for his escape are still unclear. Japanese authorities have no computer data indicating that Carlos Ghosn has presented himself under his real identity at border controls in Japan, at none of the country’s airports.
Lebanese sources claim, however, that Mr. Ghosn passed through controls in Beirut with a French passport. He had three passports (a French, a Lebanese and a Brazilian), kept by his lawyers. But an exceptional authorization from the court allowed him to keep a second French passport on him, in a case closed by a secret code, said Thursday a source close to the file, confirming information from the Japanese public broadcaster NHK. Also according to this source, the secret code of this case (box or bag, the type is not specified) was known to his lawyers, said the same source.
The document was used as a short-stay visa for the archipelago, so Ghosn must have it on hand for internal travel, the source said. In the event of a check, he had to contact the lawyer holding the code so that he could travel (he could not just give the code over the phone to a police officer), the source added, adding that such provisions do not concerned not only Mr. Ghosn, but also other persons released on bail.
Investigation opened in Turkey
For their part, the Turkish authorities arrested Thursday several people in the context of an investigation into the transit through Istanbul of Carlos Ghosn, whose final destination was Lebanon. According to the Turkish news agency DHA, seven people were arrested in the Turkish capital.
In addition, Japanese media reported that a search took place on Thursday of his Tokyo apartment on parole.