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Japan Issues Arrest Warrant for Nissan Ex-Chairs Wife Carole Ghosn

Tokyo prosecutors obtained an arrest warrant Tuesday for former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosns wife on suspicion of perjury, adding to the couples legal troubles in the country where he once was revered as a star executive.

The move against Carole Ghosn, who is not in Japan, followed her husbands flight to Lebanon last week while he was out on bail awaiting trial for alleged financial misconduct.

Prosecutors said in a statement that Carole Ghosn gave false testimony to a Tokyo court last year in her husbands case about the transfer of money from one company to another that allegedly caused losses to Nissan.

She also denied knowing various people, or meeting with them, and the statements were false, they said. The allegations cited were unrelated to Ghosns escape.

Carole Ghosn was not immediately available for comment but earlier she told The Associated Press after her questioning in court that she considered the questions trite and unsubstantial.

She was banned from meeting with her husband after his release on bail because of fears she might help tamper with evidence.

Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn, center, leaves his lawyers office in Tokyo, Japan on April 3, 2019. (Sadayuki Goto/Kyodo News via AP, File)

Lebanon and Japan do not have an extradition treaty. Japanese justice officials acknowledge that its unclear whether the two can be brought back to Japan to face any of the charges. They said they were still looking into what could be done.

The Lebanese presidential palace said Tuesday that Lebanons president met with the Japanese ambassador and they discussed the case, but did not provide any other details. This is the first known meeting between the president and a Japanese diplomat since Ghosn arrived in the country on Dec. 30.

Japans chief government spokesman said Japanese officials have told Lebanon that Ghosn left the country illegally and that they are seeking cooperation in finding out what happened. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the situation must be handled carefully.

Prosecutors have said they did not want Carlos Ghosn to be granted bail because they saw him as a flight risk.

“With his abundant financial power and multiple foreign bases worldwide, it would be easy for the defendant Ghosn to flee from Japan,” they said in a statement.

Earlier Tuesday, Ghosns former employer, Nissan Motor Co., said it was still pursuing legal action against him despite his escape.

The Japanese automaker said in a statement that Ghosn engaged in serious misconduct while leading the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance.

“The company will continue to take appropriate legal action to hold Ghosn accountable for the harm that his misconduct has caused to Nissan,” it said, without giving details.

Ghosn managed to skip bail and leave the country despite surveillance while he was staying at a home in Tokyo.

Journalist stand outside the Tokyo residence of former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn, while prosecutors raid the house, in Tokyo
Journalist stand outside the Tokyo residence of former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn, while prosecutors raid the house, in Tokyo
Journalists stand outside the Tokyo residence of former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn, while prosecutors raid the house, in Tokyo, Japan, on Jan. 2, 2020. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

Japanese news reports Tuesday gave new details of that escape, saying he left his residence alone, met two men at a Tokyo hotel, and then took a bullet train to Osaka before boarding a private jet hidden inside a case for musical equipment.

Japanese Justice Minister Masako Mori told reporters that measures were being taken to make sure all cargo and luggage are inspected at regional airports, including those for private jets, to prevent a recurrence.

Nissans statement was the first word from the company since Ghosns flight last week. The automaker and Japanese prosecutors allege Ghosn misstated his future compensation and diverted company assets for personal gain. He says he is innocent.

Ghosn has not appeared in public since arriving in Lebanon. He is expected to give his side of the story in a news conference planned for Wednesday in Beirut.

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