Japan to do utmost to have Ghosn return for trial: ministry official

FILE PHOTO: Former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn sits inside a car as he leaves his lawyer's office after being released on bail from Tokyo Detention House, in Tokyo, Japan, March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese legal officials are poring over Lebanese laws in a bid to find a way to return ex-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn to Japan, a Ministry of Justice senior official said on Tuesday, adding that Tokyo will do its utmost to have him face trial on financial misconduct charges.

“We are screening in detail Lebanon’s domestic laws and ...we will do whatever we can to win his return,” the official said.

The former Nissan Motor and Renault chairman, who was free on bail awaiting trial on charges of financial misconduct, fled to his childhood home of Lebanon last month.

The possibility of persuading Lebanon to hand over Ghosn is low, however, the Japanese official said, because Lebanon like many other countries does not extradite its own citizens.

Ghosn, he added, may face additional charges for violating Japan’s immigration laws by fleeing Japan, while police and prosecutors may pursue anyone who aided his escape.

On Tuesday, Tokyo prosecutors issued a warrant for the arrest of Carol Ghosn, his wife, Japanese broadcaster TBS reported.

The former auto executive is due to speak to the media in Lebanon on Wednesday. He is expected to detail some of the claims he has made against Nissan since his arrest in November 2018 in which he has alleged that there was a Japanese government-backed coup to oust him.

Reporting by Tim Kelly; editing by Himani Sarkar and Jason Neely