Lawyer of ex-Nissan chief appears before Lebanon prosecutors

Lawyer of ex-Nissan chief appears before Lebanon prosecutors
Nissan's former chairman Carlos Ghosn arrives for a press conference in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

BEIRUT (AP) — The lawyer for the fugitive ex-Nissan chief, Carlos Ghosn, appeared before Lebanese prosecutors on Thursday over a non-binding Interpol-issued request to locate and provisionally arrest his client.

It was not immediately clear if Ghosn himself was at the hearing, though local media reported that he was and that he had entered through a side door, reserved for judges and lawyers, to avoid reporters.

Lebanon last week received an Interpol-issued wanted notice, which is a non-binding request to law enforcement agencies worldwide that they locate and provisionally arrest a fugitive.

Ghosn showed up in Lebanon on Dec. 30, after an audacious and improbable escape from surveillance in Japan. On Wednesday, Ghosn spoke to the media for the first time since his escape in a 150-minutes press conference in which he railed at Japanese justice system, accusing it of violating his basic rights.

Ghosn said he had no trust he would get a fair trial in Japan, disputing all allegations against him as “untrue and baseless.”

Lebanon and Japan do not have an extradition treaty, and the Interpol notice does not require that Lebanese authorities arrest him. The authorities here have said that Ghosn entered the country on a valid passport, casting doubt on the possibility they would hand him over to Japan.

But in Lebanon, Ghosn separately faces possible legal action over a visit to Israel in 2008 after two Lebanese lawyers submitted a report to the Public Prosecutor’s Office saying the trip violated Lebanese law. The two neighboring countries are technically in a state of war.