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Carlos Ghosn Skipped Bail. This Man Was Left Behind.

Westlake Legal Group 00gregkelly-01-facebookJumbo Carlos Ghosn Skipped Bail. This Man Was Left Behind. Tennessee Securities and Commodities Violations Renault SA Nissan Motor Co Lebanon Japan Automobiles

Every weekday morning, Greg Kelly, the former Nissan executive accused of helping Carlos Ghosn hide his compensation from the Japanese authorities, makes his way to his lawyer’s office in Tokyo to chip away at a monumental task: reviewing close to 1 billion pages of documents.

His wife, Donna Lynn Kelly, who everyone calls Dee, goes off to Japanese class.

That’s the life of the two Americans in Japan as they await Mr. Kelly’s trial, according to a person who knows Mr. Kelly and spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss personal matters. The timing of the trial, once set to begin in April, is now uncertain after Mr. Ghosn’s sudden flight to Lebanon two weeks ago. A pretrial hearing next Thursday may shed more light.

Mr. Kelly, whose passport was taken away when he was arrested in November 2018, is preparing to defend himself against criminal charges that, as Mr. Ghosn’s chief of staff and the man nominally in charge of Nissan’s internal auditing, he helped Mr. Ghosn conceal how much he was being paid. The prosecutors in Japan declined to comment on Mr. Kelly’s case.

Mr. Kelly says he is innocent and just wants to go home to Tennessee. At 63, he suffers from a spinal condition that has left him with weakness in his extremities and an uncertain gait that sometimes causes him to trip and fall. He has an infant grandson in Seattle he has never met.

On Jan. 8, he watched his former boss, appearing fit and pugnacious in Beirut, address a room packed with journalists. Over nearly three hours, Mr. Ghosn proclaimed his innocence in four languages. He mentioned Mr. Kelly twice.

“Greg Kelly, an honorable man, husband and father, who was brutally taken from his family,” Mr. Ghosn said. “My plight has captured headlines,” he said. “You cannot forget Greg’s ordeal.”

In Beirut, Mr. Ghosn has a pink mansion in an upscale part of town. The Kellys live in an apartment, small but clean, with a microwave but no stove. Ms. Kelly can visit family in the United States, but she spends most of her time with her husband in Tokyo, the person said. Her visa depends on her studying Japanese, so she spends several hours a day in class. If she doesn’t score high enough on the exams, she can be sent home.

While Mr. Ghosn used a corporate jet to visit homes in Brazil, Beirut, Paris and Tokyo before the 2018 arrests, Mr. Kelly led a more pedestrian life as a Nissan executive, according to two people who know him.

A lawyer, Mr. Kelly joined Nissan in 1988, enticed by a recruiter who described “an extremely interesting Japanese company in Tennessee. I think it would a good fit for you,” he recalled last year in an interview with the publication Bungei Shunju.

He and his wife raised a family — two sons — in Brentwood, Tenn., a Nashville suburb near Nissan’s North American headquarters, and Ms. Kelly worked as an accountant. While the children were young, the Kellys were members of the Church of the Good Shepherd, a local Episcopalian congregation, with Dee and their son Mike writing and directing Christmas pageants.

In 2008, their lives changed. Mr. Kelly’s job, as senior executive in Nissan’s human resources department, took him to Japan, and Ms. Kelly came with him. He became a senior vice president and then, in 2012, joined Nissan’s board — Nissan’s first American board member — while working for Mr. Ghosn, the chairman, as the company’s top legal officer.

He was considered a close associate of the chairman, a reliable vote to help Mr. Ghosn carry out his plans for an alliance of Nissan and Renault, the French automaker Mr. Ghosn also headed. But Mr. Kelly has rejected that description, pointing out that he was not on the board’s top decision-making body, the executive committee. “Considering this, why was I called Ghosn’s right-hand man?” he told Bungei Shunju.

The Kellys enjoyed Japan — “Greg and I often discussed the possibility of living in Japan part-time in our retirement,” Ms. Kelly later said — but their lives remained rooted in the United States.

In 2008, they bought a vacation house in Sanibel Island, Fla., in a neighborhood crammed with a network of canals leading to the Gulf of Mexico, according to property documents. They joined a sailing club that organized potlucks at picnic huts on the beach and luncheons at local seafood restaurants.

“You’re dealing with an all-American guy, not extravagant, no racehorses, nothing,” said the second person who knows Mr. Kelly. “Very ordinary guy, and charming, very American in the positive sense of the word.”

Mr. Kelly retired to Tennessee in 2015 but kept his board seat. In November 2018, Mr. Kelly recalled in the interview with Bungei Shunju, a senior executive urged him to attend a board meeting in Japan. Mr. Kelly, facing spinal surgery within two weeks at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said he would prefer to attend via video conference. The official insisted that he come in person, that the company would send a plane to pick him up and that he would be home within three days, in time for Thanksgiving.

Minutes after landing in Tokyo, he was arrested. He spent the next 34 days in a cell at Tokyo Detention House, sleeping on a futon on the floor.

Before he was released on bail on Christmas Day in 2018, Ms. Kelly recorded a video and distributed it news organizations, begging for her husband to be freed or at least to be allowed to consult with a Japanese doctor she had identified as one of the country’s leading experts on Mr. Kelly’s condition. He would eventually undergo surgery in Tokyo for spinal stenosis, but it did not relieve his symptoms.

In September, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission accused Mr. Kelly, along with Mr. Ghosn and Nissan, of breaking American disclosure laws. Mr. Kelly agreed to pay $100,000 and submit to a five-year ban on serving as a senior executive of a public company to settle the charges without admitting or denying guilt.

Prosecutors have barred his lawyers from putting the voluminous documents in his case online and making them searchable, which means that only Mr. Kelly’s Japanese defense team, or others who come to their Tokyo offices, can see them.

Mr. Kelly has insisted on helping to review the mountain of documents prosecutors say they will use to make their case. He spends hours each day at his lawyer’s office.

“Greg has been wrongly accused as part of a power grab by several Nissan executives,” Ms. Kelly said in the video. “The truth of this will come out.”

In the 2019 magazine interview, Mr. Kelly was defiant about his and Mr. Ghosn’s innocence, contending that Hiroto Saikawa, who was then Nissan’s chief executive, approved the compensation plans that led to the arrests. “How come Ghosn and I were suddenly arrested without one instance of being asked to explain and no discussions or meeting on the subject,” he said.

But then Mr. Kelly added, “I am very proud to have worked for this amazing company, Nissan, for over 30 years. It has been an honor.”

Liz Alderman in Paris and Makiko Inoue in Tokyo contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Carlos Ghosn Defends His Legacy

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Most global fugitives tend to lie low. They do not beckon reporters to televised news conferences or allow themselves to be photographed drinking wine by candlelight days after being smuggled in a box aboard a chartered jet to freedom.

But Carlos Ghosn, the deposed auto executive, is no normal fugitive. Unapologetic and unrelenting, he stood at a lectern in Beirut before more than 100 journalists on Wednesday and laid out his case for how criminal charges of financial wrongdoing in Japan are part of a vast conspiracy to take him down.

The highly choreographed event, during which Mr. Ghosn took aim at the Japanese justice system and his corporate enemies, was scheduled 415 days after he was first arrested and more than a week after a team of operatives helped spirit him away from house arrest in Tokyo, where he was awaiting trial.

“I did not escape justice,” said Mr. Ghosn, 65, wearing an immaculate blue suit, white shirt and red tie. “I fled injustice and political persecution.”

For all the bravado he projects, Mr. Ghosn is a potent symbol of globalism under pressure, an imperial executive in retreat.

Until his arrest, he ruled an automotive alliance that spanned continents, comprising Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi. As head of Nissan, Mr. Ghosn was one of only a handful of foreign chief executives of a Japanese company. But the alliance now threatens to fall apart, a parallel for a time when the global trade order and the military and political alliances that once held the modern world together are facing their toughest tests in decades.

For nearly three hours on Wednesday, alternating flawlessly through four languages (English, Arabic, French and Portuguese), Mr. Ghosn talked about how “more than 20 books of management have been written about me.” He referred to himself in the third person and talked about the drop in market valuation at the auto companies he once ran. He drew applause from some reporters, and flattered others, promising to take questions from every region.

Mr. Ghosn’s presentation felt, at times, like one he would have delivered to fellow executives and global leaders during one of his regular trips to the World Economic Forum in Davos, the annual gathering in Switzerland that has come to be seen as both a forum for world-changing ideas and a convening of the capitalist and self-congratulatory elite.

In a sit-down interview with The New York Times after the news conference, Mr. Ghosn sounded more subdued than during his fiery performance in front of the cameras. He expressed regrets about whom he had hired to replace him at Nissan, admitting, “Frankly, I should have retired.”

But Mr. Ghosn remained fiercely protective of his legacy, which is badly bruised.

“The revival of Nissan, nobody’s going to take it from me,” he insisted.

Mr. Ghosn’s story isn’t a neat one. Company insiders have described him as increasingly haughty and imperious. Though he blames the Japanese justice system for its unfairness, he agreed last fall to pay $1 million to settle a civil case in the United States, which barred him from serving as an officer or a director of a publicly traded company for 10 years. Mr. Ghosn did not admit wrongdoing under the terms of the settlement, but it essentially ended his chance of ever running another large global business.

A man with passports from several countries and homes across the world, Mr. Ghosn and his wife, Carole, who also faces a Japanese arrest warrant, are essentially stuck in Lebanon, where they have family and own property but are not free from prosecution. On Wednesday, Lebanese prosecutors said Mr. Ghosn must submit to an interrogation over his flight from Japan.

France is also investigating whether Mr. Ghosn used company money from Renault to throw a Marie Antoinette-themed party at Versailles in 2016. And Nissan has accused him of siphoning millions of dollars from the auto company to pay for his yacht, buy houses and distribute cash to members of his family — all of which he denies.

Mr. Ghosn argued that in most countries, he would not have been held for months in jail for these types of allegations. He said he felt he was being treated “like a terrorist.”

During the news conference, he flashed giant slides on a white wall behind him, showing various corporate documents. In explaining some of the questionable personal expenses, Mr. Ghosn used a defense common on Wall Street: He said other executives at Nissan had signed off on the transactions, which made them authorized by the company.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 08ghosnassess-4-articleLarge Carlos Ghosn Defends His Legacy Renault SA Nissan Motor Co Japan Ghosn, Carlos Fugitives France Beirut (Lebanon)

Mr. Ghosn outlining the case against him, complete with a presentation of documents to support his defense.Credit…Diego Ibarra Sanchez for The New York Times

Since his arrest in Japan in November 2018, Mr. Ghosn and his supporters have worked aggressively to tell his side of the story and attack his critics.

He has employed lawyers on at least three continents, talked to a Hollywood producer about making a movie about his legal ordeal and hired a public relations firm that advised the National Football League on its efforts to reduce head injuries.

In France, the “Committee to Support Mr. Carlos Ghosn” formed on Facebook. Some of his supporters there blame the government for failing to stand up for Mr. Ghosn, a French citizen, for fear of angering the country’s “yellow vest” protesters railing against the global elite.

In Lebanon, where Mr. Ghosn grew up, he is celebrated as a member of the diaspora of business leaders and artists who have achieved worldwide success. Hours after he landed in Beirut, Mr. Ghosn met with the country’s president, Michel Aoun, and other top leaders, and operatives who helped him carry out his escape had ties to the country.

Lebanese supporters paid for billboard ads across Beirut with the executive’s face on them and the message: “We are all Carlos Ghosn.” But in truth, there are few people in the world who have Mr. Ghosn’s money and influence.

A grandson of a Lebanese entrepreneur who ran several companies in South America, Mr. Ghosn was born in Brazil in 1954. His family moved back to Lebanon when he was 6, and he later attended college in France.

“I’ve always been someone who was different,” he wrote in his autobiography in 2003.

Mr. Ghosn went to work in the auto industry after college and made his mark revitalizing Renault. In the 1990s, he helped turn around Nissan by slashing jobs and upending its corporate culture.

“It was a dead company,” he said on Wednesday.

Mr. Ghosn expanded his auto empire further by creating the alliance of Renault, Nissan and another Japanese company, Mitsubishi.

His leadership of Renault, which the French government partly owns, gave him political standing in France. In Lebanon, some people hoped he would run for public office, maybe even president.

Mr. Ghosn’s personal and professional empire collapsed when he was arrested at the Tokyo airport on his return from a trip to Lebanon. By that point, he had stepped down as chief executive at Nissan, but was still its chairman.

From the airport, Mr. Ghosn was taken to jail, where he was forced to live in solitary confinement for weeks at a time. He was allowed to shower twice a week and was let out of his cell for 30 minutes a day. Prosecutors, he said, hid the evidence against him and prohibited him from contacting his wife in Lebanon.

He was released on bail, but he was jailed again in April after he announced that he planned to speak with the press.

Last fall, Mr. Ghosn said, his lawyers told him that his case could drag on for five years, which he said was a violation of a basic human right to a speedy trial.

It wasn’t all glum. Two days before his Dec. 29 escape, his secretary made him a reservation at a Tokyo restaurant where he enjoyed his favorite salad with sesame dressing, according to the restaurant’s manager. He posed for photos with about 40 customers.

Mr. Ghosn wouldn’t talk on Wednesday about how he got from Japan to Beirut, despite reporters’ attempts.

Government-authorized media accounts from Turkey, where Mr. Ghosn landed on the first leg of his journey, have said he was smuggled inside of a large box from an airport in Osaka, Japan.

The box was loaded into the storage area of a private plane, which was accessible from where the passengers sat, according to the Turkish account. The two operatives working with Mr. Ghosn told the flight attendant not to bother them.

After takeoff, Mr. Ghosn was let out of the box and sat in the passenger area, which contained a bed and sofa and was separated from the front of the plane by a locked door.

For about 12 hours, the quintessential global citizen was officially stateless, flying high above Asia in secret.

The Bombardier jet landed in the rain at Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul. A car pulled up to the plane and then drove to another jet parked a short distance away, according to the Turkish media. That second plane then took off for Beirut.

At least 15 operatives were involved in the operation, and some of them were not aware of whom they were extracting from Japan, according to a person briefed on the operation. They assumed that the plan was to rescue a kidnapped child.

In the interview on Wednesday, Mr. Ghosn said he had planned the escape himself, but with help from others, whom he wouldn’t disclose. “Little by little,” he said, he began to think through a strategy for getting out. “When I started to do that, it kept me motivated. It kept me alive.”

During the escape, he kept telling himself: “You need to always remember what happened to you. No matter what, never forget that.”

Ben Dooley reported from Beirut, and Michael Corkery from New York. Reporting was contributed by Vivian Yee from Beirut, Hisako Ueno from Tokyo, Liz Alderman from Paris, and Emily Flitter and David Yaffe-Bellany from New York.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

In Interview, Carlos Ghosn Defends His Legacy

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Most global fugitives tend to lie low. They do not beckon reporters to televised news conferences or allow themselves to be photographed drinking wine by candlelight days after being smuggled in a box aboard a chartered jet to freedom.

But Carlos Ghosn, the deposed auto executive, is no normal fugitive. Unapologetic and unrelenting, he stood at a lectern in Beirut before more than 100 journalists on Wednesday and laid out his case for how criminal charges of financial wrongdoing in Japan are part of a vast conspiracy to take him down.

The highly choreographed event, during which Mr. Ghosn took aim at the Japanese justice system and his corporate enemies, was scheduled 415 days after he was first arrested and more than a week after a team of operatives helped spirit him away from house arrest in Tokyo, where he was awaiting trial.

“I did not escape justice,” said Mr. Ghosn, 65, wearing an immaculate blue suit, white shirt and red tie. “I fled injustice and political persecution.”

For all the bravado he projects, Mr. Ghosn is a potent symbol of globalism under pressure, an imperial executive in retreat.

Until his arrest, he ruled an automotive alliance that spanned continents, comprising Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi. As head of Nissan, Mr. Ghosn was one of only a handful of foreign chief executives of a Japanese company. But the alliance now threatens to fall apart, a parallel for a time when the global trade order and the military and political alliances that once held the modern world together are facing their toughest tests in decades.

For nearly three hours on Wednesday, alternating flawlessly through four languages (English, Arabic, French and Portuguese), Mr. Ghosn talked about how “more than 20 books of management have been written about me.” He referred to himself in the third person and talked about the drop in market valuation at the auto companies he once ran. He drew applause from some reporters, and flattered others, promising to take questions from every region.

Mr. Ghosn’s presentation felt, at times, like one he would have delivered to fellow executives and global leaders during one of his regular trips to the World Economic Forum in Davos, the annual gathering in Switzerland that has come to be seen as both a forum for world-changing ideas and a convening of the capitalist and self-congratulatory elite.

In a sit-down interview with The New York Times after the news conference, Mr. Ghosn sounded more subdued than during his fiery performance in front of the cameras. He expressed regrets about whom he had hired to replace him at Nissan, admitting, “Frankly, I should have retired.”

But Mr. Ghosn remained fiercely protective of his legacy, which is badly bruised.

“The revival of Nissan, nobody’s going to take it from me,” he insisted.

Mr. Ghosn’s story isn’t a neat one. Company insiders have described him as increasingly haughty and imperious. Though he blames the Japanese justice system for its unfairness, he agreed last fall to pay $1 million to settle a civil case in the United States, which barred him from serving as an officer or a director of a publicly traded company for 10 years. Mr. Ghosn did not admit wrongdoing under the terms of the settlement, but it essentially ended his chance of ever running another large global business.

A man with passports from several countries and homes across the world, Mr. Ghosn and his wife, Carole, who also faces a Japanese arrest warrant, are essentially stuck in Lebanon, where they have family and own property but are not free from prosecution. On Wednesday, Lebanese prosecutors said Mr. Ghosn must submit to an interrogation over his flight from Japan.

France is also investigating whether Mr. Ghosn used company money from Renault to throw a Marie Antoinette-themed party at Versailles in 2016. And Nissan has accused him of siphoning millions of dollars from the auto company to pay for his yacht, buy houses and distribute cash to members of his family — all of which he denies.

Mr. Ghosn argued that in most countries, he would not have been held for months in jail for these types of allegations. He said he felt he was being treated “like a terrorist.”

During the news conference, he flashed giant slides on a white wall behind him, showing various corporate documents. In explaining some of the questionable personal expenses, Mr. Ghosn used a defense common on Wall Street: He said other executives at Nissan had signed off on the transactions, which made them authorized by the company.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 08ghosnassess-4-articleLarge In Interview, Carlos Ghosn Defends His Legacy Renault SA Nissan Motor Co Japan Ghosn, Carlos Fugitives France Beirut (Lebanon)

Mr. Ghosn outlining the case against him, complete with a presentation of documents to support his defense.Credit…Diego Ibarra Sanchez for The New York Times

Since his arrest in Japan in November 2018, Mr. Ghosn and his supporters have worked aggressively to tell his side of the story and attack his critics.

He has employed lawyers on at least three continents, talked to a Hollywood producer about making a movie about his legal ordeal and hired a public relations firm that advised the National Football League on its efforts to reduce head injuries.

In France, the “Committee to Support Mr. Carlos Ghosn” formed on Facebook. Some of his supporters there blame the government for failing to stand up for Mr. Ghosn, a French citizen, for fear of angering the country’s “yellow vest” protesters railing against the global elite.

In Lebanon, where Mr. Ghosn grew up, he is celebrated as a member of the diaspora of business leaders and artists who have achieved worldwide success. Hours after he landed in Beirut, Mr. Ghosn met with the country’s president, Michel Aoun, and other top leaders, and operatives who helped him carry out his escape had ties to the country.

Lebanese supporters paid for billboard ads across Beirut with the executive’s face on them and the message: “We are all Carlos Ghosn.” But in truth, there are few people in the world who have Mr. Ghosn’s money and influence.

A grandson of a Lebanese entrepreneur who ran several companies in South America, Mr. Ghosn was born in Brazil in 1954. His family moved back to Lebanon when he was 6, and he later attended college in France.

“I’ve always been someone who was different,” he wrote in his autobiography in 2003.

Mr. Ghosn went to work in the auto industry after college and made his mark revitalizing Renault. In the 1990s, he helped turn around Nissan by slashing jobs and upending its corporate culture.

“It was a dead company,” he said on Wednesday.

Mr. Ghosn expanded his auto empire further by creating the alliance of Renault, Nissan and another Japanese company, Mitsubishi.

His leadership of Renault, which the French government partly owns, gave him political standing in France. In Lebanon, some people hoped he would run for public office, maybe even president.

Mr. Ghosn’s personal and professional empire collapsed when he was arrested at the Tokyo airport on his return from a trip to Lebanon. By that point, he had stepped down as chief executive at Nissan, but was still its chairman.

From the airport, Mr. Ghosn was taken to jail, where he was forced to live in solitary confinement for weeks at a time. He was allowed to shower twice a week and was let out of his cell for 30 minutes a day. Prosecutors, he said, hid the evidence against him and prohibited him from contacting his wife in Lebanon.

He was released on bail, but he was jailed again in April after he announced that he planned to speak with the press.

Last fall, Mr. Ghosn said, his lawyers told him that his case could drag on for five years, which he said was a violation of a basic human right to a speedy trial.

It wasn’t all glum. Two days before his Dec. 29 escape, his secretary made him a reservation at a Tokyo restaurant where he enjoyed his favorite salad with sesame dressing, according to the restaurant’s manager. He posed for photos with about 40 customers.

Mr. Ghosn wouldn’t talk on Wednesday about how he got from Japan to Beirut, despite reporters’ attempts.

Government-authorized media accounts from Turkey, where Mr. Ghosn landed on the first leg of his journey, have said he was smuggled inside of a large box from an airport in Osaka, Japan.

The box was loaded into the storage area of a private plane, which was accessible from where the passengers sat, according to the Turkish account. The two operatives working with Mr. Ghosn told the flight attendant not to bother them.

After takeoff, Mr. Ghosn was let out of the box and sat in the passenger area, which contained a bed and sofa and was separated from the front of the plane by a locked door.

For about 12 hours, the quintessential global citizen was officially stateless, flying high above Asia in secret.

The Bombardier jet landed in the rain at Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul. A car pulled up to the plane and then drove to another jet parked a short distance away, according to the Turkish media. That second plane then took off for Beirut.

At least 15 operatives were involved in the operation, and some of them were not aware of whom they were extracting from Japan, according to a person briefed on the operation. They assumed that the plan was to rescue a kidnapped child.

In the interview on Wednesday, Mr. Ghosn said he had planned the escape himself, but with help from others, whom he wouldn’t disclose. “Little by little,” he said, he began to think through a strategy for getting out. “When I started to do that, it kept me motivated. It kept me alive.”

During the escape, he kept telling himself: “You need to always remember what happened to you. No matter what, never forget that.”

Ben Dooley reported from Beirut, and Michael Corkery from New York. Reporting was contributed by Vivian Yee from Beirut, Hisako Ueno from Tokyo, Liz Alderman from Paris, and Emily Flitter and David Yaffe-Bellany from New York.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Carlos Ghosn: The C-Suite Fugitive Under Pressure

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Most global fugitives tend to lie low. They do not beckon reporters to televised news conferences or allow themselves to be photographed drinking wine by candlelight days after being smuggled in a box aboard a chartered jet to freedom.

But Carlos Ghosn, the deposed auto executive, is no normal fugitive. Unapologetic and unrelenting, he stood at a lectern in Beirut before more than 100 journalists on Wednesday and laid out his case for how criminal charges of financial wrongdoing in Japan are part of a vast conspiracy to take him down.

The highly choreographed event, during which Mr. Ghosn took aim at the Japanese justice system and his corporate enemies, was scheduled 415 days after he was first arrested and more than a week after a team of operatives helped spirit him away from house arrest in Tokyo, where he was awaiting trial.

“I did not escape justice,” said Mr. Ghosn, 65, wearing an immaculate blue suit, white shirt and red tie. “I fled injustice and political persecution.”

For all the bravado he projects, Mr. Ghosn is a potent symbol of globalism under pressure, an imperial executive in retreat.

Until his arrest, he ruled an automotive alliance that spanned continents, comprising Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi. As head of Nissan, Mr. Ghosn was one of only a handful of foreign chief executives of a Japanese company. But the alliance now threatens to fall apart, a parallel for a time when the global trade order and the military and political alliances that once held the modern world together are facing their toughest tests in decades.

For nearly three hours on Wednesday, alternating flawlessly through four languages (English, Arabic, French and Portuguese), Mr. Ghosn talked about how “more than 20 books of management have been written about me.” He referred to himself in the third person and talked about the drop in market valuation at the auto companies he once ran. He drew applause from some reporters, and flattered others, promising to take questions from every region.

Mr. Ghosn’s presentation felt, at times, like one he would have delivered to fellow executives and global leaders during one of his regular trips to the World Economic Forum in Davos, the annual gathering in Switzerland that has come to be seen as both a forum for world-changing ideas and a convening of the capitalist and self-congratulatory elite.

In a sit-down interview with The New York Times after the news conference, Mr. Ghosn sounded more subdued than during his fiery performance in front of the cameras. He expressed regrets about whom he had hired to replace him at Nissan, admitting, “Frankly, I should have retired.”

But Mr. Ghosn remained fiercely protective of his legacy, which is badly bruised.

“The revival of Nissan, nobody’s going to take it from me,” he insisted.

Mr. Ghosn’s story isn’t a neat one. Company insiders have described him as increasingly haughty and imperious. Though he blames the Japanese justice system for its unfairness, he agreed last fall to pay $1 million to settle a civil case in the United States, which barred him from serving as an officer or a director of a publicly traded company for 10 years. Mr. Ghosn did not admit wrongdoing under the terms of the settlement, but it essentially ended his chance of ever running another large global business.

A man with passports from several countries and homes across the world, Mr. Ghosn and his wife, Carole, who also faces a Japanese arrest warrant, are essentially stuck in Lebanon, where they have family and own property but are not free from prosecution. On Wednesday, Lebanese prosecutors said Mr. Ghosn must submit to an interrogation over his flight from Japan.

France is also investigating whether Mr. Ghosn used company money from Renault to throw a Marie Antoinette-themed party at Versailles in 2016. And Nissan has accused him of siphoning millions of dollars from the auto company to pay for his yacht, buy houses and distribute cash to members of his family — all of which he denies.

Mr. Ghosn argued that in most countries, he would not have been held for months in jail for these types of allegations. He said he felt he was being treated “like a terrorist.”

During the news conference, he flashed giant slides on a white wall behind him, showing various corporate documents. In explaining some of the questionable personal expenses, Mr. Ghosn used a defense common on Wall Street: He said other executives at Nissan had signed off on the transactions, which made them authorized by the company.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 08ghosnassess-4-articleLarge Carlos Ghosn: The C-Suite Fugitive Under Pressure Renault SA Nissan Motor Co Japan Ghosn, Carlos Fugitives France Beirut (Lebanon)

Mr. Ghosn outlining the case against him, complete with a presentation of documents to support his defense.Credit…Diego Ibarra Sanchez for The New York Times

Since his arrest in Japan in November 2018, Mr. Ghosn and his supporters have worked aggressively to tell his side of the story and attack his critics.

He has employed lawyers on at least three continents, talked to a Hollywood producer about making a movie about his legal ordeal and hired a public relations firm that advised the National Football League on its efforts to reduce head injuries.

In France, the “Committee to Support Mr. Carlos Ghosn” formed on Facebook. Some of his supporters there blame the government for failing to stand up for Mr. Ghosn, a French citizen, for fear of angering the country’s “yellow vest” protesters railing against the global elite.

In Lebanon, where Mr. Ghosn grew up, he is celebrated as a member of the diaspora of business leaders and artists who have achieved worldwide success. Hours after he landed in Beirut, Mr. Ghosn met with the country’s president, Michel Aoun, and other top leaders, and operatives who helped him carry out his escape had ties to the country.

Lebanese supporters paid for billboard ads across Beirut with the executive’s face on them and the message: “We are all Carlos Ghosn.” But in truth, there are few people in the world who have Mr. Ghosn’s money and influence.

A grandson of a Lebanese entrepreneur who ran several companies in South America, Mr. Ghosn was born in Brazil in 1954. His family moved back to Lebanon when he was 6, and he later attended college in France.

“I’ve always been someone who was different,” he wrote in his autobiography in 2003.

Mr. Ghosn went to work in the auto industry after college and made his mark revitalizing Renault. In the 1990s, he helped turn around Nissan by slashing jobs and upending its corporate culture.

“It was a dead company,” he said on Wednesday.

Mr. Ghosn expanded his auto empire further by creating the alliance of Renault, Nissan and another Japanese company, Mitsubishi.

His leadership of Renault, which the French government partly owns, gave him political standing in France. In Lebanon, some people hoped he would run for public office, maybe even president.

Mr. Ghosn’s personal and professional empire collapsed when he was arrested at the Tokyo airport on his return from a trip to Lebanon. By that point, he had stepped down as chief executive at Nissan, but was still its chairman.

From the airport, Mr. Ghosn was taken to jail, where he was forced to live in solitary confinement for weeks at a time. He was allowed to shower twice a week and was let out of his cell for 30 minutes a day. Prosecutors, he said, hid the evidence against him and prohibited him from contacting his wife in Lebanon.

He was released on bail, but he was jailed again in April after he announced that he planned to speak with the press.

Last fall, Mr. Ghosn said, his lawyers told him that his case could drag on for five years, which he said was a violation of a basic human right to a speedy trial.

It wasn’t all glum. Two days before his Dec. 29 escape, his secretary made him a reservation at a Tokyo restaurant where he enjoyed his favorite salad with sesame dressing, according to the restaurant’s manager. He posed for photos with about 40 customers.

Mr. Ghosn wouldn’t talk on Wednesday about how he got from Japan to Beirut, despite reporters’ attempts.

Government-authorized media accounts from Turkey, where Mr. Ghosn landed on the first leg of his journey, have said he was smuggled inside of a large box from an airport in Osaka, Japan.

The box was loaded into the storage area of a private plane, which was accessible from where the passengers sat, according to the Turkish account. The two operatives working with Mr. Ghosn told the flight attendant not to bother them.

After takeoff, Mr. Ghosn was let out of the box and sat in the passenger area, which contained a bed and sofa and was separated from the front of the plane by a locked door.

For about 12 hours, the quintessential global citizen was officially stateless, flying high above Asia in secret.

The Bombardier jet landed in the rain at Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul. A car pulled up to the plane and then drove to another jet parked a short distance away, according to the Turkish media. That second plane then took off for Beirut.

At least 15 operatives were involved in the operation, and some of them were not aware of whom they were extracting from Japan, according to a person briefed on the operation. They assumed that the plan was to rescue a kidnapped child.

In the interview on Wednesday, Mr. Ghosn said he had planned the escape himself, but with help from others, whom he wouldn’t disclose. “Little by little,” he said, he began to think through a strategy for getting out. “When I started to do that, it kept me motivated. It kept me alive.”

During the escape, he kept telling himself: “You need to always remember what happened to you. No matter what, never forget that.”

Ben Dooley reported from Beirut, and Michael Corkery from New York. Reporting was contributed by Vivian Yee from Beirut, Hisako Ueno from Tokyo, Liz Alderman from Paris, and Emily Flitter and David Yaffe-Bellany from New York.

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Japan Issues Arrest Warrant for Carlos Ghosn’s Wife

Westlake Legal Group 07ghosn-1-facebookJumbo Japan Issues Arrest Warrant for Carlos Ghosn’s Wife Renault SA Nissan Motor Co Japan Ghosn, Carlos extradition criminal justice Carole Ghosn Airlines and Airplanes

TOKYO — The Japanese authorities on Tuesday said they issued a warrant for the arrest of Carole Ghosn, the American wife of the fallen auto magnate Carlos Ghosn, ramping up pressure to bring him back to the country to face criminal charges.

Prosecutors in Tokyo said they had obtained an arrest warrant for Mrs. Ghosn, 53, on a charge of giving false testimony. In a written statement, they said Mrs. Ghosn testified in April that she did not know a person who was involved in Mr. Ghosn’s case, even though she was in communication with that person while the person was wiring money between companies at Mr. Ghosn’s request.

The statement did not disclose the identities of the person or the companies.

The Ghosn family could not immediately be reached for comment.

The arrest warrant is the latest twist in an international tale of intrigue. Mr. Ghosn, the architect of the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi auto empire, faces criminal charges in Japan. But he fled the country on Dec. 29 and reappeared in Lebanon. Mr. Ghosn is a Lebanese national, and the nation does not extradite its citizens.

Mrs. Ghosn is believed to be in Beirut, the Lebanese capital, where she was photographed with her husband on New Year’s Eve. It is not clear how a Japanese arrest warrant would affect her ability to return to the United States, which has an extradition agreement with Japan.

While she is in Lebanon, Japan’s options are limited. The authorities in Tokyo have pressed Lebanon to return Mr. Ghosn, though they acknowledge that Lebanese law forbids extradition of a citizen. A Japanese Justice Ministry official on Tuesday said the authorities were reviewing Lebanese law and working with Japan’s Foreign Ministry.

Japanese officials prompted Interpol, the international criminal information clearinghouse, to issue what is known as a red notice, which is issued internationally for individuals wanted for prosecution or to serve a sentence. But red notices essentially function as a diplomatic request for help, not as an international arrest warrant, and they do not obligate governments to comply.

Putting Mrs. Ghosn in custody if she travels to the United States is no sure thing, either. While Japan and the United States have long had extradition agreements, they enjoy broad discretion in deciding whether to offer up their citizens to face criminal charges.

Mrs. Ghosn has been a vocal defender of her husband. In April, in an interview with The New York Times, she described how the Japanese authorities treated her “like a terrorist” when they arrested him again in April at a Tokyo home where they were staying, while he was free on bail on earlier charges.

Also on Tuesday, Japan’s land and transportation minister, Kazuyoshi Akaba, said the authorities on Monday said that major airports with terminals for private jets would be required to inspect large baggage items that pass through them. The stepped-up measures followed reports that Mr. Ghosn escaped through Kansai International Airport in Osaka, Japan, while hiding in a large box that was loaded onto a private aircraft.

Japanese officials have also said that they confiscated the 1.5 billion yen, or nearly $14 million, in bail Mr. Ghosn forfeited when he fled the country.

Mr. Ghosn was first arrested by the Japanese authorities in November 2018 and ultimately charged with four counts of financial wrongdoing while running the vast automotive empire. Mr. Ghosn has denied the allegations and said he was set up by Nissan executives who feared that he would more closely combine the operations of the major Japanese automaker with its French partner, Renault.

On Tuesday, Nissan broke its silence on Mr. Ghosn’s flight, saying in a statement that an internal investigation found “numerous acts of misconduct” and it could continue to cooperate with the authorities in investigating him.

“Ghosn’s flight will not affect Nissan’s basic policy of holding him responsible for the serious misconduct uncovered by the internal investigation,” it said. “The company will continue to take appropriate legal action to hold Ghosn accountable for the harm that his misconduct has caused to Nissan.

Vivian Yee contributed reporting from Beirut, Lebanon.

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Carlos Ghosn’s Escape Preparations Spanned the Globe

Westlake Legal Group 06ghosn-4-facebookJumbo Carlos Ghosn’s Escape Preparations Spanned the Globe Turkey Securities and Commodities Violations Renault SA Nissan Motor Co Luggage and Packing Lebanon Japan Ghosn, Carlos airports

A team of operatives working to help Carlos Ghosn escape from Japan spent hundreds of thousands of dollars scoping out airports and other entry points in Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand before his flight last week, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The goal was to find security flaws that would allow Mr. Ghosn to evade the authorities, this person said. Ultimately, the planning team flew him from Japan to Turkey and then on to Lebanon. Mr. Ghosn has a home in Beirut and faces no extradition to Japan; he is also a citizen of France, where he has spent most of his adult life.

The preparation for his escape, remarkable in its scope, was conducted under a veil of secrecy: Even some of the project’s operatives did not know the client’s identity or when the escape would take place, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the legal sensitivity of the issue.

Mr. Ghosn, the former head of the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance, is facing charges of financial misconduct in Japan and was free on bail. He left his home in central Tokyo on Dec. 29, in an escape that the authorities are piecing together, fleeing what he called a “rigged Japanese justice system.”

Details of his trip are beginning to come to light. That afternoon, Mr. Ghosn walked about 900 yards to a hotel, where he met two men, according to NHK and Nikkei, which cited sources in the city prosecutor’s office and the Tokyo police.

The three then went to the Shinagawa railroad station, a major hub, and a little after 4:30 p.m. boarded a Shinkansen, or high-speed bullet train, for Osaka, about 340 miles southwest of the capital, the reports said.

It’s unclear if Mr. Ghosn, who is one of the most recognizable public figures in Japan, hid his appearance. Once in Osaka, the three men entered a hotel near Kansai International Airport about 8 p.m. A couple of hours later, the two men left the hotel with two large boxes; Mr. Ghosn was not in sight, the reports said. They boarded a corporate jet with the boxes, and flew to Istanbul.

News reports have said that Mr. Ghosn evaded airport security measures by hiding in a box that was loaded on the plane.

From Istanbul, Mr. Ghosn reportedly got on a smaller plane, and arrived in Beirut later Monday.

Lebanese officials have said he entered legally with a French passport and a Lebanese ID, so there was no reason to stop him at the border. But on Monday, France’s foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, suggested that might not have been the case.

“As far as we know, he did not use French documents,” he told BFM TV.

The French finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, appeared to harden the government’s stance on Mr. Ghosn, saying on Monday that the executive should face justice in a court of law.

“When one is a defendant, one does not escape justice,” he told France Inter radio. “And Carlos Ghosn is a defendant like any other.”

Mr. Le Maire added that the French government was ready to open an investigation into $11 million in questionable expenses at the headquarters of the alliance between Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors while Mr. Ghosn headed the group. The expenses were identified in June during an internal audit carried out by Nissan and Renault, an alliance in which the French government holds a 15 percent stake.

Mr. Ghosn has long denied the allegations of financial wrongdoing and insisted he had been set up by Nissan executives who were worried that he would further merge the operations of the Japanese automaker and Renault of France.

Mr. Ghosn’s escape was an embarrassment for the Japanese authorities, who on Monday promised to tighten airport baggage inspections and the rules governing the release of criminal suspects on bail.

“Now, measures have been taken so that similar acts can’t be committed,” Masako Mori, Japan’s justice minister, said at a news conference. Though her ministry is not responsible for baggage inspection, she said, different agencies are working to tighten control.

Ms. Mori also said the government would accelerate an existing review of Japan’s bail policies, including whether to require defendants to wear tracking wrist or ankle bracelets. Mr. Ghosn offered to wear one when he sought bail, but the court granted it without that requirement.

She added that Mr. Ghosn’s bail had been canceled. In leaving Japan, he forfeited 1.5 billion yen in bail, or about $13.9 million.

Mr. Ghosn is expected to meet with reporters this week. On Monday, a host on the Fox Business Network, Maria Bartiromo, said that she had spoken to Mr. Ghosn over the weekend and that he said he would present evidence that the criminal counts against him were an effort by Nissan and Japanese officials to prevent a merger with Renault — a charge he has made before.

Ms. Mori defended the country’s justice system as fair and open, with plenty of opportunities for Mr. Ghosn to defend himself.

“We acknowledge that there are various criticisms of Japan’s criminal justice procedures, but every country has a different criminal justice system,” she said. “It isn’t appropriate to simply focus on one part of the system when comparing it to other countries.”

Mr. Ghosn was accompanied out of Japan by Michael Taylor, an American security consultant and a former Green Beret, The New York Times reported on Friday, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Mr. Taylor, a well-known private-security contractor, has extensive contacts in Lebanon dating to the 1980s, when he was deployed to Beirut as part of a team of United States Special Forces that worked alongside Lebanese soldiers. He speaks Arabic, and Lebanese intermediaries connected him with Mr. Ghosn, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing an anonymous source, that Mr. Ghosn had been smuggled through the Kansai airport in a type of box often used for concert equipment. It said that the terminal for private jets at that airport was essentially empty, and that oversize luggage could not fit in the airport’s scanners.

A customs official at the airport, Akira Taniguchi, said that screening of luggage was done in two stages. In the first, a private security company using X-ray and other equipment checks whether there are items that are not allowed on board, likes guns or knives.

In the second stage, customs officials check whether the bags contain items that are not permitted to be brought into or taken out of Japan, like drugs and some foods. They use X-ray machines, metal detectors, drug detectors and dogs for that step.

Asked if Mr. Ghosn had managed to elude these measures, Mr. Taniguchi said, “We cannot comment on this.”

Makiko Inoue and Hisako Ueno reported from Tokyo, and David Yaffe-
Bellany from New York. Liz Alderman contributed reporting from Paris.

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How 7-Eleven Struck Back Against an Owner Who Took a Day Off

Westlake Legal Group 06seveneleven-1-facebookJumbo How 7-Eleven Struck Back Against an Owner Who Took a Day Off Population Part-Time Employment Matsumoto, Mitoshi Labor and Jobs Japan Franchises Convenience Stores 7-eleven

HIGASHI-OSAKA, Japan — The rice balls are gone. So are the juice bottles, which Mitoshi Matsumoto priced to sell early. Most of his store’s shelves stand empty, but he has kept some cigarette cartons and bottles of alcohol in the hope that his long-running battle with the 7-Eleven convenience store chain will end in his favor.

The company that controls the 7-Eleven chain, Seven & I Holdings, terminated Mr. Matsumoto’s franchise last week after he decided to close his store on New Year’s Day, and it has stopped supplying him.

It was the latest battle between Mr. Matsumoto and one of Japan’s best-known companies over harsh working conditions in the Japanese convenience store industry, which demands that stores stay open seven days a week, 24 hours a day, for all 365 days in a year.

Mr. Matsumoto remains in business, but just barely. The screen on the A.T.M. flashes, “Not in operation.” His two full-time employees are ready to jump to new jobs once he finally closes, and his seven part-time employees no longer show up.

Still, he plans to stay open as long as he can.

“I want to stay in business for the sake of myself and other owners throughout the country,” said Mr. Matsumoto, 57, who says he plans to continue his fight in a local court.

A spokesman for Seven & I, Katsuhiko Shimizu, said the company terminated Mr. Matsumoto’s contract last Tuesday. He denied that the termination was tied to Mr. Matsumoto’s plan to close for a day, and instead cited numerous customer complaints about the store and Mr. Matsumoto’s disparaging remarks about the company on social media.

Mr. Matsumoto’s fight with 7-Eleven has made him famous in Japan, a country that has long struggled with a strenuous and sometimes deadly work culture.

Government figures show overwork was blamed for 246 claims related to hospitalization or death in 2018. The retail industry was one of the biggest sources, officials show. Another 568 workers took their own lives over job-related exhaustion. The phenomenon is so common that Japan has coined a term for it, “karoshi.”

Overwork has become an even bigger issue as the Japanese population ages and shrinks. Though the country’s economic growth has been weak for years, the labor market has tightened considerably as more workers slip into retirement and fewer young workers take their place. While Japan is rethinking its tough immigration laws, the rules still generally keep people from moving to the country to fill in the gap.

Those strains are particularly evident in the convenience store industry. Japan’s chains have greatly expanded in recent years in an effort to capture market share at one another’s expense.

While the expenses for the chains were minimal, the expansion took a toll on the franchisees who operate the vast majority of Japan’s more than 55,000 convenience stores. Unable to find dependable workers, many owners increasingly worked themselves.

“Under the current situation, the company can have it both ways,” said Naoki Tsuchiya, a professor at Musashi University in Tokyo and an expert on labor issues in the industry, who called Mr. Matsumoto “a significant figure” in the nationwide discussion over convenience stores. “They don’t have to take risks, but the owners have to take them.”

Mr. Matsumoto first drew attention a year ago. Under pressure to find workers and unable to take a day off himself, he decided to close his store before midnight. When 7-Eleven threatened his business, he contacted local reporters.

“In the last seven years, I managed to take only three trips with my wife,” he said over the weekend. “Even back then, I was preoccupied with store operations, worrying about sudden cancellation by part-time workers. I had to hold a mobile phone while I soaked in a spa.”

The clash drew renewed attention last month when Mr. Matsumoto declared his intention to close his store on New Year’s Day, Japan’s most important holiday. Days later, 7-Eleven threatened to close his store.

When Mr. Matsumoto reopened on Jan. 2, the threat appeared to have been carried out. The company’s vast and super-efficient logistics system had stopped sending fresh supplies. The sales terminal where employees ring up goods is still online, but little else appears to be connected to the 7-Eleven apparatus that runs nearly 40 percent of Japan’s convenience stores.

Mr. Matsumoto says he still has business. Supportive customers have shown up to shop among his remaining inventory, which includes snacks, instant noodles, stationery items, detergents and cosmetics.

One of them, Hiroshi Nakayama, a 45-year-old electrical equipment wholesaler, had long watched the fight between Mr. Matsumoto and 7-Eleven and went to the store after his son’s soccer game to check in. The whole fight could have been avoided, he said.

“There must have been other solutions to fix the bad relationship with the company,” said Mr. Nakayama, who turned up on Saturday after Mr. Matsumoto, running on a skeleton staff, had closed for the night. “They could have discussed it more. It’s both sides’ fault.”

Mr. Matsumoto said another store owner, from the city of Kyoto, had come to visit to express support, but he declined to provide a name.

Despite his troubles with the company, Mr. Matsumoto said he hoped a legal fight would restore his franchise. He said that 7-Eleven had offered to pay for his remaining inventory — owners are responsible for buying their own products from the company at wholesale prices — but that he had refused. He wants Japan’s convenience store industry to change instead.

“If I win the case, I hope more will follow and raise their voices,” he said. “If I lose, many will get depressed and more afraid of 7-Eleven.”

That is why, he said, he plans to fight to the bitter end.

“It doesn’t matter if I win or lose,” Mr. Matsumoto said. “I just want to disclose everything in my case. I believe the justice will be given.”

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Carlos Ghosn’s Escape Began With a Ride on a Public Train

Westlake Legal Group 06ghosn-1-facebookJumbo Carlos Ghosn’s Escape Began With a Ride on a Public Train Turkey Securities and Commodities Violations Renault SA Nissan Motor Co Luggage and Packing Lebanon Japan Ghosn, Carlos airports

TOKYO — The first leg of Carlos Ghosn’s overnight trek from his Tokyo home to Beirut, before he reportedly climbed into a box to evade airport security, involved something much more prosaic: He got aboard an Osaka-bound bullet train, several Japanese media sources reported Monday.

Taking the trip on a public train would be another embarrassment for Japanese authorities, who on Monday promised to tighten airport baggage inspections and the rules governing the release of criminal suspects on bail.

It’s unclear if Mr. Ghosn, who is one of the most recognizable public figures in Japan, hid his appearance while on the bullet train, which has a maximum speed of about 177 miles per hour. The revelations came as authorities continued to investigate how the former auto executive eluded the authorities and flew to Lebanon last week.

Mr. Ghosn, who is facing charges of financial wrongdoing in Japan, fled to Beirut, where he has a home and faces no extradition to Japan.

Details of his trip, which began on Sunday, Dec. 29, are beginning to come to light. Mr. Ghosn left his home in central Tokyo by himself around 2:30 p.m. that Sunday, and walked about 900 yards to a hotel, where he met two men, according to NHK, which cited sources in the city prosecutor’s office and the Tokyo police.

The three then went to Tokyo’s Shinagawa railroad station, a major hub, and a little after 4:30 p.m. boarded a Shinkansen, or high-speed bullet train, for Osaka, about 340 miles away, the report said. In Osaka, they entered a hotel near the Kansai airport at about 8 p.m. A couple of hours later, the two men left the hotel with two large boxes; Mr. Ghosn was not in sight, the NHK report said. They boarded a corporate jet with the boxes, and flew to Istanbul.

Previous media reports have said that Mr. Ghosn evaded airport security measures by hiding in a box that was loaded on the plane.

From Istanbul, Mr. Ghosn reportedly got on a smaller plane, and arrived in Beirut later Monday.

At a news conference on Monday, Masako Mori, Japan’s justice minister, said the authorities were taking steps to bolster the scanning of luggage, though she declined to disclose details.

“Now, measures have been taken so that similar acts can’t be committed,” she said of the escape of Mr. Ghosn, who was on bail. Though her ministry is not responsible for baggage inspection, she said, different agencies are working to tighten control.

Ms. Mori also said the government would accelerate an existing review of how bail works in the country, including whether to require defendants to wear tracking wrist or ankle bracelets. Mr. Ghosn offered to wear one when he sought bail, but the court ultimately granted it without that requirement.

“We have been reviewing the current system,” Ms. Mori said. “We would like to swiftly advance the discussions on the matter, taking into account the recent escaping cases and the various opinions we have received.”

In leaving Japan, Mr. Ghosn forfeited 1.5 billion yen in bail, or about $13.9 million.

Mr. Ghosn, the former chief of the Nissan-Renault auto alliance, has long denied the allegations of financial wrongdoing and insisted he had been set up by Nissan executives who were worried that he would further merge the operations of the Japanese automaker and Renault of France.

After he vanished from Tokyo last week, he appeared in Lebanon, saying in a statement that he had been “held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system.”

Japanese officials on Sunday defended the country’s justice system as fair and open, with plenty of opportunities for Mr. Ghosn to defend himself.

Ms. Mori continued the defense on Monday.

“We acknowledge that there are various criticisms of Japan’s criminal justice procedures, but every country has a different criminal justice system,” she said, adding, “It isn’t appropriate to simply focus on one part of the system when comparing it to other countries.”

The details of Mr. Ghosn’s escape are still emerging.

In Japan, local media outlets have reported that surveillance cameras showed him leaving his Tokyo rental home by himself on Dec. 29. According to media reports in Turkey, he boarded a private jet in Osaka and flew to Istanbul, then took a second plane to Beirut.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing an anonymous source, that Mr. Ghosn was smuggled through Kansai International Airport in a type of box often used for concert equipment. It said the terminal for private jets at that airport was essentially empty, and that oversize luggage could not fit in the airport’s scanners.

A customs official at the airport, Akira Taniguchi, said that screening of luggage was done in two stages. In the first, a private security company using X-ray and other equipment checks whether there are items that are not allowed on board, likes guns or knives.

In the second stage, customs officials check whether the bags contain items that are not permitted to be brought in or taken out of Japan, like drugs and some foods. They use X-ray machines, metal detectors, drug detectors and dogs for that step.

Asked if Mr. Ghosn had managed to elude these measures, Mr. Taniguchi said, “We cannot comment on this.”

Mr. Ghosn was accompanied out of Japan by an American security consultant named Michael Taylor, a former Green Beret, The New York Times reported on Friday, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Mr. Taylor and another American were the only people listed as passengers on a manifest for the flight that carried Mr. Ghosn from Japan to Turkey, Turkish news outlets have reported.

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Japan to Tighten Baggage and Bail Rules After Carlos Ghosn’s Escape

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TOKYO — The Japanese government said on Monday that it would tighten airport baggage inspections and the rules governing the release of criminal suspects on bail, as it continued to investigate how the former auto executive Carlos Ghosn eluded the authorities and flew to Lebanon last week.

At a news conference, Masako Mori, Japan’s justice minister, said the authorities were taking steps to bolster the scanning of luggage, though she declined to disclose details. Media reports have said that Mr. Ghosn evaded airport security measures by hiding in a box that was loaded on a plane.

“Now, measures have been taken so that similar acts can’t be committed,” she said of the escape of Mr. Ghosn, who was on bail as he faced charges of financial wrongdoing. Though her ministry is not responsible for baggage inspection, she said, different agencies are working to tighten control.

Ms. Mori also said the government would accelerate an existing review of how bail works in the country, including whether to require defendants to wear tracking wrist or ankle bracelets. Mr. Ghosn offered to wear one when he sought bail, but the court ultimately granted it without that requirement.

“We have been reviewing the current system,” Ms. Mori said. “We would like to swiftly advance the discussions on the matter, taking into account the recent escaping cases and the various opinions we have received.”

In leaving Japan, Mr. Ghosn forfeited 1.5 billion yen in bail, or about $13.9 million.

Mr. Ghosn, the former chief of the Nissan-Renault auto alliance, has long denied the allegations of financial wrongdoing and insisted he had been set up by Nissan executives who were worried that he would further merge the operations of the Japanese automaker and Renault of France.

After he vanished from Tokyo last week, he appeared in Lebanon, saying in a statement that he had been “held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system.”

Japanese officials on Sunday defended the country’s justice system as fair and open, with plenty of opportunities for Mr. Ghosn to defend himself.

Ms. Mori continued the defense on Monday.

“We acknowledge that there are various criticisms of Japan’s criminal justice procedures, but every country has a different criminal justice system,” she said, adding, “It isn’t appropriate to simply focus on one part of the system when comparing it to other countries.”

The details of Mr. Ghosn’s escape are still emerging.

In Japan, local media outlets have reported that surveillance cameras showed him leaving his Tokyo rental home by himself on Dec. 29. According to media reports in Turkey, he boarded a private jet in the Japanese city of Osaka and flew to Istanbul, then took a second plane to Beirut.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing an anonymous source, that Mr. Ghosn was smuggled through Kansai International Airport in a type of box often used for concert equipment. It said the terminal for private jets at that airport was essentially empty, and that oversize luggage could not fit in the airport’s scanners.

A customs official at the airport, Akira Taniguchi, said that screening of luggage was done in two stages. In the first, a private security company using X-ray and other equipment checks whether there are items that are not allowed on board, likes guns or knives.

In the second stage, customs officials check whether the bags contain items that are not permitted to be brought in or taken out of Japan, like drugs and some foods. They use X-ray machines, metal detectors, drug detectors and dogs for that step.

Asked if Mr. Ghosn had managed to elude these measures, Mr. Taniguchi said, “We cannot comment on this.”

Mr. Ghosn was accompanied out of Japan by an American security consultant named Michael Taylor, a former Green Beret, The New York Times reported on Friday, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Mr. Taylor and another American were the only people listed as passengers on a manifest for the flight that carried Mr. Ghosn from Japan to Turkey, Turkish news outlets have reported.

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Japan Defends Its Justice System After Carlos Ghosn’s Flight

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TOKYO — Japanese officials on Sunday defended the country’s justice system as fair and open and condemned Carlos Ghosn’s flight from criminal charges there, as its courts are put under a global spotlight for their treatment of suspects and a near-perfect conviction record by prosecutors.

In a statement issued near the end of the country’s weeklong New Year’s holiday, Masako Mori, Japan’s justice minister, said officials would investigate how Mr. Ghosn, the former automotive executive, fled the country last week. She said Japanese officials would tighten the processes through which people leave the country, though she disclosed no details.

“Since no record has been found that he left Japan, he may have left the country using illegal measures,” Ms. Mori said in the statement. “It’s truly regrettable.”

Takahiro Saito, deputy chief prosecutor for the city of Tokyo, said in a separate statement on Sunday that Mr. Ghosn “broke his own word” by jumping bail and leaving Japan.

Mr. Saito said Mr. Ghosn, who faces criminal charges of financial wrongdoing, would have received a fair and open trial, responding to Mr. Ghosn’s intense criticism of the country’s justice system.

“The act can never be justified,” Mr. Saito said.

The comments were the first public response by Japan’s government since Mr. Ghosn escaped to Lebanon early last week. Mr. Ghosn, the former chief of Nissan, the Japanese automaker, has long maintained his innocence, saying that he was set up by underlings who worried that he would essentially combine one of the crown jewels of Japan’s auto industry with its French partner, Renault.

Exactly how Mr. Ghosn eluded the Japanese authorities remained a mystery. Local news outlets have reported that surveillance cameras showed him leaving his rental home in a well-to-do neighborhood in central Tokyo by himself on Dec. 29. After that, media reports have said, he boarded a private jet in Osaka and flew to Istanbul, where he took a second plane and flew to Beirut.

The New York Times, citing a person familiar with the matter, reported on Friday that Mr. Ghosn was accompanied out of Japan by an American security consultant named Michael Taylor, a former Green Beret. Turkish news outlets have reported that Mr. Taylor and another American were the only people listed as passengers on a manifest for the flight that carried Mr. Ghosn from Japan to Turkey.

In Beirut, the Japanese government has begun discussing Mr. Ghosn’s escape with Lebanese officials. On Friday, its ambassador met with Lebanon’s minister for presidential affairs, according to the state-run National News Agency, and discussed “the ramifications” of Japan’s formal request through Interpol, known as a red notice, for help apprehending the former executive.

No details were released, and both sides agreed to maintain contact, the report said. Lebanon has insisted that it played no role in Mr. Ghosn’s escape.

Mr. Ghosn’s dramatic escape from Japan has put the country’s legal system itself on trial, at least in the realm of public opinion. “I have not fled justice,” he said in a statement last week. “I have escaped injustice and political persecution.”

Japanese defense attorneys have long complained that the system is stacked against them. Prosecutors win 99 percent of their cases. They enjoy broad powers to interview suspects without the presence of their lawyers. And many legal experts say the system depends too much on confessions extracted under heavy pressure.

In that environment, Mr. Ghosn’s case presented a quandary for prosecutors, said Steven Davidoff Solomon, a professor at the University of California Berkeley School of Law.

“Japan has a system where everyone pleads guilty,” he said.

Before making bail, Mr. Ghosn, 65, was held in solitary confinement with limited access to his lawyers. Once released, he was not allowed to meet with his wife and was forbidden to use the internet outside his lawyers’ offices. Surveillance cameras watched him come and go from his Tokyo residence.

“The restrictions they were putting on him were extraordinary,” Professor Davidoff Solomon said, “for someone who is not a terrorist and not accused of a violent crime like a mass murder.”

People familiar with Mr. Ghosn’s thinking said he had grown increasingly alarmed over the possibility that he could spend the rest of his life facing charges in Japan, as prosecutors there sought to try him on his four charges of financial wrongdoing in stages rather than all at once.

Takashi Takano, a member of Mr. Ghosn’s legal team, wrote online that he had repeatedly explained to Mr. Ghosn that it would be difficult for him to get a fair trial, but that there was still a strong possibility the court would find him not guilty.

On Christmas Eve, Mr. Ghosn spoke to his wife for an hour, only their second conversation in months. When the couple said their goodbyes, Mr. Takano said, “I had never felt so disappointed in Japan’s justice system.”

When he heard that Mr. Ghosn had fled, “At first, a fierce fury welled up in me. I thought I had been betrayed,” Mr. Takano wrote.

But when he reflected on Mr. Ghosn’s situation, he said, “my anger turned in another direction.”

“I was certainly betrayed,” he said. “But the betrayal was not by Carlos Ghosn.”

Mr. Saito on Sunday defended the system. He said that Mr. Ghosn had been guaranteed a swift trial in an open court, and that prosecutors must prove their allegations to win a conviction.

Conviction rates are high in Japan, Mr. Saito acknowledged in his statement. But he said he was “confident that fair trials are carried out in which the courts allow defendants to make their claims adequately, and can judge from a strictly independent stance whether cases have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”

“In this case,” he added, “prosecutors have been implementing the appropriate procedures as stipulated by the law and have been proceeding with the investigation and preparation for trials while guaranteeing the rights of Ghosn, the defendant.”

Mr. Saito also defended the strict limits on Mr. Ghosn’s conduct while on bail, citing his wealth and his connections in Japan and around the world.

“As Ghosn has ample funds and a number of bases abroad, it was easy to escape,” he said. “He also has various human networks and a huge amount of influence both inside and outside Japan, so there was a realistic danger of concealing and destroying the evidence.”

As Mr. Ghosn’s flight put the Japanese justice system under a spotlight, it also has put critics of the system in a difficult position. However unfair the process might be, Mr. Ghosn defied it by fleeing, an offense that would invite harsh punishment in any country.

“It’s certain that Japan’s legal system has some big problems from the standpoint of guaranteeing human rights,” Takashi Yamaguchi, a lawyer who famously defended an artist who was arrested on obscenity charges, said in a Twitter post, “but the place he ought to have made his criticisms was a Japanese court, not Lebanon.”

Mark Karpelès, an entrepreneur who fought his own yearslong battle in Japanese courts, said Mr. Ghosn might have lost an opportunity to change the system from within. Mr. Karpelès, the founder of cryptocurrency exchange Mt. Gox, was ultimately found guilty on a charge of falsifying data, which he is appealing, and received a suspended sentence of two and a half years in prison.

Despite the broad powers granted to prosecutors, “the judges are still impartial,” Mr. Karpelès said, adding that “it’s possible to prove your innocence in a Japanese court. I’ve been there, done that.”

Mr. Karpelès said he had met Mr. Ghosn socially in Tokyo on a handful of occasions, most recently in November at a dinner that was attended by Japanese politicians. Mr. Karpelès declined to name the other attendees.

During that dinner, Mr. Karpelès said in an interview on Sunday, there were discussions of how Mr. Ghosn’s case could help address some of the shortcomings of Japan’s justice system.

“There was hope that Carlos Ghosn would help move things in the right direction,” he said, adding that “some people were trying to build something around this to improve the system.”

Now, he wonders whether other suspects might have a harder time getting out of custody on bail. Being released on bail is a “basic requirement” for defending oneself, said Mr. Karpelès, who was detained for almost a year.

“That’s why I’m disappointed,” he said.

“I don’t think the court will be so inclined to let people be free on bail in the future.”

Emily Flitter contributed reporting from New York.

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