Former Nissan Motor Company chief Carlos Ghosn said Tuesday he had traveled to Lebanon to escape what he called "injustice and political persecution" in Japan where he faces multiple charges of financial misconduct.
"I am now in Lebanon and will no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system where guilt is presumed, discrimination is rampant, and basic human rights are denied, in flagrant disregard of Japan's legal obligations under international law and treaties it is bound to uphold," he said.
Ghosn has been arrested several times since first being detained in November 2018, but was free on bail. The conditions of his latest release required him to remain in Japan, and his statement Tuesday did not explain how he left.
Ghosn holds French, Brazilian and Lebanese citizenship. His lawyer Junichiro Hironaka told reporters Tuesday that his legal team was still in possession of all Ghosn's passports, and he said he was surprised to learn of Ghosn's departure.
Ghosn has denied the charges against him.
Among the allegations are accusations he conspired to understate his Nissan income by about 50 percent between 2010 and 2015, and that a Nissan subsidiary diverted $2.5 million out of $5 million from an Oman dealership to a Ghosn-owned investment company for his private use.
Ghosn was credited for steering Nissan from the brink of bankruptcy to becoming one of the world top-selling automakers. He engineered a three-way alliance with one-time domestic rival Mitsubishi Motors and French-based Renault.