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Ghosn skips normalisation charges in Lebanese courts

Lebanon’s prosecutor general decided Tuesday not to charge fugitive ex-auto tycoon Carlos Ghosn for visiting Israel in 2008 because the statute of limitations has expired, a judicial source said.

Three lawyers filed a motion in January calling for the 66-year-old businessman to be prosecuted over his trip to the Jewish state as Renault-Nissan chairman.

Lebanon is technically still at war with Israel and forbids its citizens from traveling there.

“Prosecutor general Ghassan Oueidat decided … not to prosecute Ghosn for the crimes attributed to him of entering the enemy country and dealing with it economically,” the source told AFP.

“A statute of limitations of ten years had passed since the alleged crime,” the source added.

Ghosn on Jan. 8 apologized to the Lebanese people for having visited Israel to sign a deal to produce electric vehicles, saying he traveled on business for Renault on a French passport.

He also holds Lebanese and Brazilian nationalities.

The ex-Nissan chief was arrested in Japan in November 2018 on financial misconduct charges and spent 130 days in detention, before he jumped bail and smuggled himself out of the country late last year.

Ghosn appeared at a press conference in Lebanon on Jan. 8, denying all charges and claiming he was a victim of a plot by Nissan and Japanese officials.

Japan has called on Ghosn to return to the Asian country to be tried, while Lebanon has asked Japan to hand over his file on financial misconduct charges.

He and his wife Carole are to take part in a documentary and mini-series about his life, the first of which started shooting in Beirut in September.

Separately, the US Justice Department on Friday urged a federal judge to swiftly reject a last-minute bid by two Massachusetts men to avoid being extradited to Japan to face charges that they helped Ghosn flee the country.

The lawyers for the two men have said they will ask the State Department and White House to reconsider their extradition.

Source: Arab News

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