Lebanon and Japan have about 40 days to make a decision regarding ousted Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn whether he will be extradited to Japan or stand trial in Lebanon, a judicial source and a source close to Ghosn stated on Thursday, following his escape from Japan last month.
Ghosn fled to Lebanon, his childhood home, even though he was awaiting trial on charges of under-reporting earnings in Japan as well as charges related to breach of trust and misappropriation of company funds. Ghosn has denied all these charges.
Japan and Lebanon have no extradition agreement and Lebanon does not generally hand over its nationals. Ghosn’s legal team is hoping to hold the trial in Lebanon.
Japan has in recent days asked Lebanon to clarify what files they would require as part of an official extradition request, the two sources stated.
“They came back and requested a clarification. Today, we sent that to the Japanese,” the judicial source stated.
That communication is important because, according to Lebanon’s rules for dealing with Interpol notices, it triggers an approximately 40-day period by the end of which agreement must be reached between the nations on where and how Ghosn will stand trial, the sources stated.
Japan should now either send a formal extradition request to Lebanon or send Ghosn’s file to Beirut and agree on a process for trying the businessman there, the source knowledgeable with the matter said.
An Interpol spokesperson stated on Friday the organization did not itself dictate a timeframe or need any action to be taken by countries and such a framework is set regionally.
Ghosn, who holds Lebanese, French, and Brazilian nationality, was questioned previously this month by Lebanese prosecutors who confiscated his passport and issued a travel ban as part of the Interpol arrest warrant process.
The source close to Ghosn stated the businessman can appeal to Lebanon’s prosecutor to drop the ban and return his passport if Japan does not reply within the timeframe.
Japanese prosecutors have stated they are still pushing for Ghosn to be tried in Japan.
Ghosn has struck out at what he has referred to Japan’s unjust judicial system and said the alternative to fleeing would have been to spend the rest of his life in the country without a fair trial.