Fugitive former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn has claimed he was facing persecution in Japan and feared he was going to die there if he did not flee.
Mr Ghosn made the remarks in his first public appearance since he dramatically escaped from the country, where he was facing trial on allegations of financial misconduct.
Speaking at a news conference in Beirut, he insisted: “I did not escape justice – I fled injustice and persecution.”
He said he had been “brutally taken from my world as I knew it, ripped from my family, my friends, my communities” when he was arrested in November 2018.
The businessman even compared the shock of his arrest to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941.
Mr Ghosn gave an emotional of account of his ordeal while behind bars including periods of solitary confinement.
He said: “It is impossible to express the depth of that deprivation and my profound appreciation once again to be able to be reunited with my family and loved ones.
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“The feeling of hopelessness was profound.”
He said he would not go into detail about how he left Japan.
But he said that doing so was “the most difficult decision of my life” and insisted: “I was left with no choice but to protect myself and my family.”
Image: Turkey has released an image of the music equipment box Carlos Ghosn is believed to have left Japan inside
Mr Ghosn reiterated his denials of the charges against him and his claim that “unscrupulous, vindictive individuals” at Nissan were behind what happened.
He also claimed he was interrogated by up to eight hours without lawyers present and that he was told by Japanese prosecutors: “It will get worse for you if you don’t just confess.”
Mr Ghosn said: “There was no way I was going to be treated fairly, no sign that I would have a normal life for the next four or five years.
“It is not very difficult to come to the conclusion ‘you are going to die in Japan or you are going to have to get out’.
“This was not about justice.
“It felt like I was a hostage of a country that I have served for 17 years.
“I dedicated my professional life – I was proud of it.
“I revived the company, that nobody else before me was able to do.
“For ten years, they were in the dirt.
“For 17 years I was considered a role model in Japan.
“More than 20 books of management were written about me.
“And like this – in a minute, all of a sudden – a few prosecutors and a bunch of executives decided ‘this guy is a cold, cold, greedy dictator.”
The businessman, once a titan of the global car industry who led both Japan’s Nissan and France’s Renault, skipped bail and fled Japan despite supposedly rigorous surveillance.
He reportedly took a bullet train from Tokyo to Osaka before boarding a private jet hidden inside a case for musical equipment and flying via Istanbul to Beirut, where he landed on 30 December.
Source : Sky News