Japanese prosecutors raided the Tokyo home of former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn Thursday while the international police organization Interpol submitted a warrant for his arrest to Lebanese authorities.
Ghosn skipped bail in Japan and fled to Lebanon before his trial on financial misconduct charges got underway.
Japanese authorities said they were unsure how the auto executive avoided close surveillance and entered Lebanon, but Lebanese authorities said he entered the country legally with a French passport and that there was no reason to take action against Ghosn.
Japanese media showed investigators entering Ghosn’s home, his third home in Tokyo since he was first arrested a year ago.
Ghosn’s lawyers in Japan initially said they were unaware of Ghosn’s escape and that they possessed all of his passports. He has citizenship in Lebanon, France and Brazil.
Japanese public broadcaster NHK TV reported Ghosn had two French passports but did not identify the source of the information.
Japanese media reported earlier that there were no official records in Japan of Ghosn’s departure and that a private jet departed from a regional airport to Turkey.
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu News Agency reported Thursday that authorities investigating Ghosn’s travels from Japan to Istanbul had arrested seven people, including four pilots, a cargo company manager and two airport employees.
Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper reported the plane Ghosn was on landed at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport on December 29. It also reported that Ghosn was not registered on arrival and secretly boarded another plane that took him to Lebanon.
Lebanon’s justice minister, Albert Serhan, told the Associated Press that the arrest warrant for Ghosn was received earlier Thursday by the prosecution.
Interpol’s arrest warrants, called red notices, are requests to law enforcement agencies worldwide to locate and arrest a fugitive.
Japanese prosecutors have charged Ghosn with under-reporting his future compensation and breach of trust.
Ghosn has maintained his innocence and claimed authorities filed the charges against him to prevent a proposed fuller merger between Nissan Motor Company and carmaker Renault SA.
Source: Voice of America