Former Nissan chairman, Carlos Ghosn, who was accused of embezzling company’s funds— courtesy of his friend in Saudi Arabia—has unlawfully fled Japan Tuesday while awaiting trial.
On reaching Lebanon, Ghosn said, “I have not fled justice — I have escaped injustice and political persecution.”
The ex-Nissan chief has been facing two serious charges for which he might be sentenced to ten years in prison. The first is the non-disclosure of deferred income during 2009-2017. The second is the breach of trust for making Nissan pay his intermediaries in the Middle East, including Khaled Al Juffali in Saudi Arabia and Suhail Bahwan in the Sultanate of Oman, for personal financial benefits.
The allegations were brought by Japanese prosecutors, exposing the use of Nissan’s funds to pay Saudi businessman, Khaled Al Juffali, who reportedly pulled Carlos Ghosn out of financial crisis. According to the reports, Al Juffali used his personal money for offering guarantee to a classified bank in return of issuing a letter of credit to Ghosn, which was demanded by Tokyo Shinsei Bank.
Corruption in the backdrop
Since the early 2000s, Saudi Arabia has been looking to diversify its economy, thereby welcoming foreign investments. But in reality, foreign companies have to partner with a Saudi company to gain profits, because Saudi administration is complicated as decisions are taken by the game of influences.
The investment opportunity lured Nissan to create a joint venture in 2008 with the Khaled Juffali Company, run by a Saudi billionaire. Together they formed Nissan Gulf to scale up the sales by partnering with Saudi, Kuwaiti and Bahraini car dealers.
Sources claimed that the 13 million euros paid between 2009 and 2012 might correspond to the lobbying work carried out by Khaled Al Juffali with the government and royal family of Saudi Arabia to permit the construction of Nissan factory.
It is quite possible that Khaled Al Juffali will easily get away with the Ghosn case, because in Saudi Arabia, there is no such policy of extraditing its nationals even if they are found guilty.
Carlos Ghosn’s mysterious escape
MTV Lebanese reported that Ghosn managed to escape from his court-approved residence in Tokyo with the help of a paramilitary group masqueraded amongst musicians performing at his house.
After the performance, the former Nissan chairman hid inside a huge musical instrument case and easily reached the local airport from where he took a private jet. Ghosn did not wear any electronic tracking tags while he was out on bail.
The investigators are trying to find out which documents were used by Ghosn to enter Lebanon. His Brazilian, French and Lebanese passports were in possession of his legal team when he left Japan.
On January 2, Interpol issued a “red notice” to Lebanon for Ghosn’s arrest, requesting to surrender him to Japan or take a suitable legal action. Though, there is no extradition agreement between Japan and Lebanon.