Lebanon has received an Interpol warrant for the arrest of fugitive Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn.
The request, an Interpol red notice that calls on authorities to arrest a wanted person, was received by Lebanon’s internal security forces and has yet to be referred to the judiciary, a source said.
Mr Ghosn has become an international fugitive after he revealed on Tuesday he had fled to Lebanon to escape what he called a “rigged” justice system in Japan, where he faces charges relating to alleged financial crimes.
He arrived in Beirut on New Year’s Eve on a private jet that reportedly landed in Istanbul first – prompting an investigation by Turkey
Sources close to Mr Ghosn said a delay to a trial and a strict ban on communicating with his wife, Carole, prompted him to go ahead with a plan to use a private security company to smuggle him out of Japan via private jet.
In past cases, where Lebanon has received red notices for its citizens, the suspects have not been detained. Instead, their passports have been confiscated and a bail has been set, according to a Reuters source.
But the country’s justice minister, Albert Serhan, said Lebanon “will carry out its duties”, suggesting for the first time that Mr Ghosn might be brought in for questioning.
The automotive boss, who holds French, Lebanese and Brazilian citizenship, has deep ties to Lebanon. He grew up there and his investments in the country include a stake in a bank, real estate and a vineyard.
Mr Ghosn’s passports for all three countries had been surrendered to his Japanese legal team. There is no record of him using a passport to leave Japan.
There have been reports that Mr Ghosn left Japan hiding in a large musical instrument case. However, his wife has described those claims as “fiction”.
Earlier, Turkish police detained seven people, including four pilots, in an investigation into how the fugitive executive transited through Istanbulon his way to Lebanon.
A Turkish police spokeswoman said two airport ground workers and a cargo worker had also been detained. All seven were expected to give statements before a court.
Mr Ghosn was first arrested in Tokyo in November 2018. He faces four charges, including hiding income and enriching himself through payments to car dealerships in the Middle East. He denies the charges.