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PARIS, Dec 31 — French government officials were unaware of plans by former Renault and Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn to flee to Lebanon from Japan, where he faces a trial over alleged financial misconduct, the foreign ministry said today.
“The French authorities were not informed of his departure from Japan and have had no information about the circumstances of this departure,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that it learned of Ghosn’s flight “in press reports.”
Ghosn had benefited from consular assistance via the French Embassy in Tokyo, the ministry noted, and “regular contacts” were maintained between the embassy, Ghosn and his lawyers.
“His situation, as well as the application of certain legal principles, was followed closely and permanently by our embassy in Tokyo,” the ministry said.
Ghosn, who has French, Lebanese and Brazilian citizenship, had been ordered to surrender his passports as part of his bail conditions following his shock arrest in Tokyo in November 2018.
The 65-year-old is facing trial on charges of under-reporting millions of dollars in salary while chairman of Nissan, the alliance partner of French automaker Renault.
Ghosn was also accused of passing on personal financial losses to Nissan.
The former boss, credited with getting both automakers back on their feet during his long reign, has denied the charges while assailing the Japanese justice system over its draconian detention polices and restrictions.
While awaiting trial, he was sacked from Nissan and from Mitsubishi Motors, the third firm in the uneasy car alliance he forged, and resigned as CEO of Renault. — AFP
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