A millionaire who fled Japan as he awaited trial on financial misconduct charges is being questioned by investigators in Lebanon.
Carlos Ghosn, who mysteriously turned up in Beirut on New Year’s Eve, was summoned by prosecutors after an Interpol warrant was issued for his arrest.
Lebanese authorities also issued a travel ban for the fugitive 65-year-old over the notice.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Carlos Ghosn’s wife Carole
On Wednesday, Ghosn gave a two-and-a-half hour news conference where he emphatically denied the criminal allegations against him.
The former Nissan CEO also claimed that there was a high-level plot to eject him from the company and scupper a planned merger with Renault.
Ghosn was reportedly being questioned at the Justice Palace in Beirut. His Lebanon-based lawyer Carlos Abou Jaoude, told Lebanese broadcaster MTV he was “very comfortable” with the proceedings in Beirut but more importantly Ghosn himself was comfortable, “especially after what he went through”.
It is thought Ghosn entered the building through a side door, reserved for judges and lawyers, to avoid reporters.
Following the questioning, the file was reportedly referred to public prosecutor Judge Ghassan Oueidat for a decision.
Japan has reacted furiously after Ghosn’s repeated criticism of the country’s legal system.
The businessman has claimed he fled Asia because he had “zero chance” of getting a fair trial, and alleged he was treated “brutally” by prosecutors.
‘I was facing conviction rate of 99%’
On Thursday, prosecutors in Tokyo said Ghosn had “only himself to blame” for his 130-day detention – and strict bail conditions which included a ban from seeing his wife.
“Defendant Ghosn was deemed a high-profile risk, which is obvious from the fact that he actually fled,” they said.
In an interview with CNBC after his news conference, Ghosn said he wanted to be able to defend himself.
“I want a justice system where attack and defence have the same rights, and it’s balanced and let the truth happen. I was in the system where it’s not about the truth, it’s about winning. It’s about confession.” he said.
He would not comment on how he escaped Japan, including the reports that he was hidden inside a music case, but said: “I can tell you that it is obviously, you know, you have a lot of anxiety when you are in a period where you are transitioning out of the country but you’re not still out of reach.”
Critics of Japan’s legal system say suspects can be detained in solitary confinement without charge for 23 days – and are often questioned for hours each day without a lawyer present.
Japan also has a conviction rate of more than 99%.