Hours after his unexpected arrival in Lebanon, news of Brazilian-born French businessman of Lebanese ancestry Carlos Ghosn's escape from a trial in Japan has sparked controversy across social media in Lebanon and around the world.
The former head of carmakers Renault and Nissan apparently fled Japan where he was under strict surveillance over financial misconduct charges. The 65 year-old recently arrived in Lebanon where he lived between the ages 6 to 17.
In a statement, Ghosn confirmed that he has departed Japan saying, “I have not fled justice, I have escaped injustice and political persecution.”
According to MTV Lebanon, a musical band visited Ghosn's house for a Christmas carol sometime last week and managed by the end of the evening to smuggle the businessman in a musical instrument box from a local airport.
Ghosn reportedly flew to Lebanon in a private jet after arriving in Turkey, and has already met with the Lebanese president.
معلومات ل ام تي في: كارلوس غصن خرج من اليابان في صندوق معد لنقل الالات الموسيقية ووصل الى تركيا ومنها الى لبنان بطائرة خاصة والتقى رئيس الجمهورية منذ ساعات— Jossie Jaalouk (@Jossie_Jaalouk) December 30, 2019
Translation: "MTV: Carlos Ghosn left Japan in a box intended to transfer music instruments, and stopped in Turkey before taking a private jet to Lebanon. He has met the president a few hours ago."
Lebanese social media users expressed their shock over the news of Ghosn's arrival and wondered if there was a deal between the governments of Lebanon and Japan to help him escape jail.
They began speculating after the Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs visited Lebanon on December 20, where he met with the Lebanese President Michel Aoun and other key Lebanese politicians.
اكيد في صفقة.!! لان مش معقول يخرج كارلوس غصن من اليابان بهل سهولة . و من كم يوم كان في مسؤول ياباني رفيع المستوى بي لبنان .— ziadsaleh♉???GERMANY/BAYERN/SAGESSE (@ziadzex123) December 31, 2019
Translation: "There must be a deal. He can't leave Japan that easily, especially that a Japanese senior official was in Lebanon a few days ago."
This is worthy of a movie.— Bassem (@BBassem7) December 31, 2019
One of the questions I have is the role the Lebanese State played in #CarlosGhosn escape. Must have been signed off at the highest levels.
Lebanon shouldn’t look to Japan for any financial assistance in the near future. https://t.co/U7HbkkCmhU
Other Lebanese social media activists linked his arrival in Lebanon with the on-going political turmoil against government corruption since protests began on October 17th.
Some suggested that the long-standing environment of corruption made Lebanon a convenient choice for him to seek safety, where "thieves are never held accountable."
Some commentators also speculated about whether or not he will be nominated for an official post in the upcoming Lebanese government.
عملنا ثورة قال لنطفر السراقين من البلد قام بجيبولنا واحد زيادة ! يا جماعة ليه عم تفهمونا بالعكس ! #كارلوس_غصن— Majida shehimi (@MajidaShehimi) December 31, 2019
Translation: "We've started a revolution to get rid of the thieves in the country, but now they've brought us another one. Why don't they understand our demands!"
باليابان عم يتحاكم بلبنان ما بيتحاكموا هيدا الفرق.— s-farah (@salwa_faroukh) December 30, 2019
Translation: "He is facing trial in Japan, which can never happen in Lebanon."
#كارلوس_غصن فار من وجه العدالة! لا اكثر ولا اقلّ! مش اذا كان ناجح بشغلو و لبناني يعني علينا ندافع عنّو لو شو ما كان عامل! يمكن بريء و يمكن لاء ، بس مش هو بقرر، المحكمة بتقرر— Marc Ferzli (@FerzliMarc) December 31, 2019
Translation: "Carlos Ghosn is a fugitive from justice, nothing more and nothing less. Being a successful Lebanese doesn't mean that we have to defend him with no regard for his actions. He might be innocent and might not, but he doesn't get to decide that. The court does."
هذا التحالف الطبقي يحمي نفسه مرة بجلب عملاء ومرة أخرى عبر إستعادة فاسدين على شكل كارلوس غصن،الصراع يستمر بجوهره الطبقي لا غير.— mohammed bazzi (@BazziMohammed) December 31, 2019
Translation: "This class-based alliance will always keep protecting itself by bringing in spies and in some cases corrupts like Carlos Ghosn. The fight continues because of the class system, that's all."
تذكرو سيطرح اسم كارلوس غصن وزير كونه رفع شركة نيسان ورينو سابقا من الإفلاس وسيكون له دور في اي حكومة— elias el khoury (@eliaselkhoury16) December 31, 2019
Translation: "Remember that he will be nominated as a minister, and they will justify it by his success in rescuing Nissan and Renault from bankruptcy."
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