“[If] Carlos Ghosn came to France, he would not be extradited,” said Agnès Pannier-Runacher, France’s secretary of state to the Minister of the Economy and Finance, during a Thursday interview with local BFM TV.
Ghosn, who is of Lebanese heritage, was arrested in November 2018 on financial misconduct charges of under-reporting his future compensation and breach of trust. He was out on bail in Japan – and was supposedly being watched closely – when he fled the country for early Monday.
The ousted automotive exec has repeatedly asserted his innocence, saying authorities were interested in preventing a possible fuller merger between Nissan Motor Co. and Renault.
He holds French, Lebanese and Brazilian passports, but all were believed to have been confiscated as part of the stringent conditions of release, his Tokyo-based attorney Junichiro Hironaka told reporters after the escape.
Lebanese TV station MTV reported Ghosn escaped Japan with the help of members of a band, who entered his home under the allegedly false notion that they would be playing music for him. After the appropriate amount of time had passed, the band left with their instruments – and Ghosn – in tow, having allegedly hidden him in "one of the boxes intended for the transfer of musical instruments," according to the report.
Turkish authorities have taken seven people into custody as they continue to learn more about Ghosn's getaway.
Meanwhile, Ghosn said in a statement Thursday any speculation of his family’s involvement in his escape from Japan to Lebanon was “inaccurate and false,” according to social media.
Financial Times reporter Peter Campbell shared the statement on Twitter, quoting the former auto executive as saying: "There has been speculation in the media that my wife Carole, and other members of my family played a role in my departure from Japan.”
Also on Thursday, Lebanon's justice minister confirmed Lebanon has received an international wanted notice – or a “Red Notice” – from Interpol for Ghosn.
While not an arrest warrant, the document serves as “an international wanted persons notice,” according to Interpol, which “cannot compel the law enforcement authorities in any country to arrest someone who is the subject of a Red Notice.”
No extradition treaty exists between Japan and Lebanon.
Also on Thursday, Japanese law enforcement members were photographed raiding the third of Ghosn’s three Tokyo homes.
He announced plans for a press conference on Jan. 8, according to a Reuters report.
According to the report, Carole Ghosn called the reunion with her husband the “best gift of my life.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.