Carlos Ghosn tells his side of the story: Live updates

By CNN Business

Updated 2118 GMT (0518 HKT) January 8, 2020
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3:53 p.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Ghosn to be questioned in Lebanon Thursday

From CNN Business' Clare Duffy

Carlos Ghosn has been summoned to face questioning by Lebanon's State Prosecutor Judge Ghassan Oueidat Thursday, according to a statement released through Lebanon's national news agency.

Following his escape, international police agency Interpol released a "red notice" informing Lebanese authorities that Ghosn is wanted by Japanese police. Ghosn will have the opportunity on Thursday to testify to Oueidat about the red notice.

3:49 p.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Japan’s Minister of Justice defends country’s justice system

From CNN Business' Clare Duffy

Japanese Minister of Justice Masako Mori released a statement hitting back at comments Carlos Ghosn made earlier Wednesday saying he felt he had to flee Japan because he wouldn’t receive a fair trial. 

Mori called Ghosn’s escape from Japan “absolutely intolerable.” 

“The court released defendant Ghosn on bail because he promised to comply with the bail conditions that he must not hide/run away or travel abroad, but he fled Japan and ran away from his criminal trial. Such action would not be condoned under any nation’s system.”

Mori defended Japan’s justice system, saying that although it may be different from other countries’ systems, it is sufficient to “clarify the truth in cases while guaranteeing basic individual human rights.” 

“Each nation’s criminal justice system has its roots in its history and culture, being formulated and developed over a long period of time,” she said. “There is no superiority or inferiority among legal systems of different countries. The merits of a criminal justice system should be decided by assessing the entire system per se.”

She added that defendants may also file a suit for a redress of inadequate detainment conditions.

3:13 p.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Ghosn on leaving Japan: Freedom is 'sweet'

From CNN Business' Clare Duffy

In the interview, CNN's Richard Quest asked Carlos Ghosn what it was like in the equipment case he is reported to have been smuggled through a Japanese airport and onto a private jet out of the country in.

Ghosn initially said, "no comment." But, he added: "Freedom, no matter the way it happens, is always sweet."

3:25 p.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Ghosn said he was ousted from Nissan and arrested because 'they didn't like' his leadership

From CNN Business' Clare Duffy

Carlos Ghosn has said said he thinks Japanese authorities and Nissan colluded to have him arrested. On Wednesday, Ghosn said he believes they did it because other leaders at Nissan did not like his management style and didn't agree with his vision for the future of the company and its alliance with Renault and Mitsubishi Motors.

"They didn’t like the fact that I was going to create a holding company that was going to create one company, one share, one board, but still keeping the autonomy of Nissan and the autonomy of Renault in tact," he said.

"They didn’t like the system, so they said, 'Why do we have to make these kinds of concessions? Let’s get rid of the guy and then we’ll keep our organization the way it is.' And frankly, they were successful in doing that."

He added that he does not think he took advantage of his position of leadership, as Japanese prosecutors have alleged. "Absolutely not," he said.

3:11 p.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Ghosn hits back at response from Tokyo prosecutors: 'It's laughable'

From CNN Business' Clare Duffy

Carlos Ghosn hit back at a statement released by Tokyo prosecutors saying he "failed to justify his acts" during his press conference earlier Wednesday.

"It's laughable," he said. "I've been under their control for all this time. I have zero rights. They put on me bail conditions which are very strict."

Among his complaints:

  • Ghosn said that even more than a year after their arrest, no date had been set for the start of his trial, or the trial for his former business parter Greg Kelly.
  • He was banned from seeing or being in contact with his wife, Carole Ghosn.
  • He said he was barred from having a phone or using the internet.
  • He said he was monitored or followed at all times while he was in Tokyo.
I don’t think that people look at people who run from North Korea, or from Vietnam, or from Russia under the Communist regime as people who are running from justice ... I was not running from justice, I was looking for justice," Ghosn said.
3:08 p.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Ghosn: I couldn't help former business partner Greg Kelly 'even if I wanted'

From CNN Business' Clare Duffy

Greg Kelly, the US businessman accused of allegedly helping Carlos Ghosn under-report his income at Nissan, remains on bail in Japan. He was detained along with Ghosn in November 2019, and Kelly was released on bail at 70 million yen ($635,000) in December 2018.

Ghosn said he and Kelly were subject to the same strict bail conditions in Japan, which limited their movements and communications. But Ghosn said he doesn't feel he's abandoned Kelly by fleeing to Lebanon.

Even if I wanted to help Greg, I couldn't, because there was no contact between us," Ghosn said.

“I didn’t leave Japan to hide somewhere, I left Japan because I am looking for justice and because I want to clear my name," he said. "I will be looking for a country where I could have this case tried but with a trial respecting the rights of the defense."

3:07 p.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Ghosn said his escape team knew the operation was risky

From CNN Business' Clare Duffy

In the days following Carlos Ghosn's escape from Japan, MNG Jet, a Turkish company that charters private jets, said a rogue employee "illegally" helped transport the auto titan to Lebanon. The company said it has filed a criminal complaint against the employee. Turkish police have also arrested seven people as part of an investigation into the plot.

Ghosn is reported to have flown through Turkey on his way to Lebanon.

"I feel very bad about it," Ghosn said of the people who were detained.

"We knew from the beginning what are the risks involved into an operation like this. We all knew that. I knew what were my risks, I knew what were the risks of all the people who supported the operation. So we all knew that," he said.

3:06 p.m. ET, January 8, 2020

CNN Interview: Ghosn declines to comment on the details of his escape

From CNN Business' Clare Duffy

Carlos Ghosn, in an interview with CNN’s Richard Quest following his lengthy morning press conference, declined to go into detail or confirm reports about exactly how he made his shocking escape from Japan. 

He did dispute one early account of how his departure might have been carried out — that a band came to play a holiday show at his Tokyo home and he left the house in a music box. 

“The whole story is wrong. Why? Because the prosecutor now went to my apartment. There is a monitoring of all the people who are in the house and they said: ‘No.’” 

However, Ghosn said he would “make no comment” on other reports that he left Tokyo via a bullet train to Osaka, and boarded a private plane at the airport there by hiding in a large equipment case. 

I will tell you why,” he said. “I was lucky to have people who supported me in this. Because when you are in a situation where you are in trouble with justice, you don’t have too much candidate to help you. I was lucky and I need to, as much as possible, protect them.” 

11:15 a.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Tokyo prosecutors say Ghosn ‘failed to justify his acts’

From CNN Business' Charles Riley

Prosecutors in Tokyo have issued a statement rejecting many of the claims made by Carlos Ghosn during his lengthy press conference in Beirut.

In detail:

  • Prosecutors deny that they conspired with Nissan to prosecute Ghosn.
  • They say the investigation was carried out in accordance with Japanese law.
  • Prosecutors say they had reasonable grounds to restrict Ghosn's communication with his wife.
  • There was sufficient evidence, they say, to "determine that there was a high probability of obtaining conviction."

The statement from the prosecutors says:

Defendant Ghosn has fled from Japan by acting in a way that could constitute a crime in itself. His statements during his press conference today failed to justify his acts. Defendant Ghosn has only himself to blame for being arrested and detained.