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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Lebanon summons Japanese ambassador over Carlos Ghosn case

The foreign ministry is demanding answers on the many 'question marks' surrounding the case

Carlos Ghosn listens during a media conference at La Defense business district, outside Paris, France. AP
Carlos Ghosn listens during a media conference at La Defense business district, outside Paris, France. AP

Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil has summoned the Japanese ambassador to Lebanon, demanding answers about the arrest of auto-industry titan Carlos Ghosn.

There are many "question marks" over the circumstances of the arrest, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday, hours before the embattled former chairman of Nissan denied some of the charges levied against him. The denial represented his first formal comments since Nissan said he misused company money for personal matters and understated his income.

The summoning of Matahiro Yamaguchi came a day after Lebanese ambassador to Japan Nidal Yahya met with Mr Ghosn, MP Alain Aoun told The National, adding that the Lebanese government is in contact with authorities in Japan to inquire about the case.

Mr Bassil said he is keen on following-up on the high-profile case, which is of great interest to both the Lebanese state and the Lebanese public, considering Mr Ghosn's global success, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Japanese authorities arrested Mr Ghosn last Monday and he continues to be held in a prison in Tokyo ahead of a trial.

The tycoon has since been dismissed as chairman of both Mitsubishi and Nissan, leaving French carmaker Renault as the only member of the alliance that has yet to take measures against the senior executive.

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Read more:

Ghosn's arrest spreads disarray among Renault and Nissan executives

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Mr Bassil said that Lebanon is coordinating with France and other relevant states to ensure that the case is being handled transparently and in accordance with legal protocol.

Tuesday's summon comes days after the Japanese ambassador met with Mr Aoun, who chairs a committee in parliament dealing with Japanese-Lebanese relations.

“Lebanon respects the independence and sovereignty of Japan’s judiciary, and does not allow itself to interfere in the course of Japan’s justice, yet it also believes that Carlos Ghosn should undergo a fair and transparent trail with full respect for his right to defend himself, away from the prejudices that have been deliberated through the media,” Mr Aoun told Mr Yamaguchi during talks.

For his part, Mr Yamaguchi said Japan is keen on maintaining strong relations with Lebanon.

“This issue is going through a judicial process that is completely independent from politics. Carlos Ghosn will get a fair trial like other Japanese citizens and will enjoy the full means to defend his case," he said.