Ex-Nissan Chairman Ghosn: I'm ready to cooperate with authorities

Former auto exec willing to face trial in Brazil or France, but not Japan

A day after his bombshell comments on fleeing from house arrest in Japan, former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo that he's ready to cooperate with the Lebanese government to clear himself.

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Ghosn said that he underwent two interrogations Thursday morning in the Middle Eastern country, which has barred him from traveling and asked that he hand in his French passport. The one-time executive believes Lebanese authorities have been asked by Japan to try to clarify specific issues and trusts that he will have “freedom of speech.”

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Lebanon received an Interpol-issued wanted notice, a non-binding request to law enforcement agencies that they locate and provisionally arrest a fugitive, on Ghosn last week.

Carlos Ghosn leaves the Tokyo Detention House in Tokyo, Japan on April 25, 2019. (REUTERS/Issei Kato)

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Interpol cannot compel Lebanon to arrest Ghosn, and it will be up to local law enforcement to decide what to do.

Lebanon and Japan do not have an extradition treaty, and authorities say Ghosn entered Lebanon on a valid passport, casting doubt on the possibility they would hand him over to Japan.

Ghosn also holds passports in France and Brazil and said the fear of extradition isn’t moving him.

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At the end of the day, Ghosn said he's simply looking to defend himself in a fair justice system, an opportunity he wasn't given in Japan.

Suspects in the country can be detained in solitary confinement without charge for up to 23 days, and charges can be filed piecemeal to prolong incarceration. Suspects are routinely grilled for hours each day without a lawyer present. Critics call the detention conditions mental torture.

Because of Japan’s extremely low crime rate, how suspects are treated is surprisingly unknown to the Japanese, who tend to trust authority figures and assume no one gets arrested without a reason.

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The preparation for Ghosn’s trial had already taken a year, and the date was still undecided. He was charged with underreporting of future income and breach of trust in diverting Nissan Motor Co. money for personal gain, the two separate charges complicating and prolonging his trial process.

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If convicted, he could face 15 years in prison.

“I could go to Brazil or I could go to France, face justice — clear my name," Ghosn said Thursday. "That's exactly my intention."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.