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Former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn shows up in Lebanon

Former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, who is awaiting trial in Japan on charges of fraud, has left the country and appeared in Lebanon, a close friend and local media reported on Monday.

It is not clear how Ghosn, who is of Lebanese origin, left Japan, where the 65-year-old was under surveillance and is schedule to face trial in April of next year.

Ricardo Karam, a TV host and friend of Ghosn who interviewed him several times, told The Associated Press that Ghosn arrived in Lebanon Monday morning. Karam offered no further details. "He is home," Karam told the AP in a message. "It's a big adventure."

Karam declined to elaborate. Local media first reported Ghosn arrived in Lebanon, but didn't offer details.

One Lebanon-based paper, Al-Joumhouriya, said Ghosn arrived in Beirut from Turkey aboard a private jet. The Associated Press has not been able to confirm those details or how he was able to leave Tokyo.

FILE PHOTO: Former Nissan Motor Chariman Carlos Ghosn leaves the Tokyo Detention House
Former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn leaves the Tokyo Detention House in Tokyo, Japan, April 25, 2019. Issei Kato / REUTERS

A house known to belong to Ghosn in a Beirut neighborhood had security guards outside with two lights on Monday night, but no sign otherwise of anyone inside. The guards denied he was on the premises, although one guard said he was in Lebanon. 

Ghosn has been on bail in Tokyo since April and is facing charges of hiding income and financial misconduct, charges he has denied. He has been under strict bail conditions in Japan after he spent more than 120 days in detention.

In September, Nissan and Ghosn reached a settlement with U.S. regulators, agreeing to pay $16 million and $1 million, respectively. The Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that Ghosn schemed to hide more than $90 million of his compensation from investors, while also acting to increase his retirement benefits by over $50 million. 

Ghosn, who led Nissan for two decades, was arrested by Japanese authorities in Tokyo late last year and was jailed four times since November. He has maintained his innocence.

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