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Sun 12 Jan 2020 02:38 PM

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Carlos Ghosn 'not a political man' but 'ready to serve' Lebanon

The former automotive legend and now world's most famous fugitive could soon become a minister in his home country

Carlos Ghosn 'not a political man' but 'ready to serve' Lebanon
Former Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn gestures as he addresses a large crowd of journalists on his reasons for leaving Japan. 

He went from automotive legend to the world’s most famous fugitive, so it may come as no surprise that Carlos Ghosn is open to the idea of a career in politics.

The former chairman and CEO of Japanese and French car giants Nissan and Renault who was arrested in November 2018 on criminal charges including aggravated breach of trust and understating his income – which he strongly denies – managed to flee Japan on New Year’s Day in an epic escape that saw him smuggled in a music box to Beirut via private jets.

In his first public appearance since his arrest, Ghosn addressed nearly 200 journalists in a two and a half hour long conference in Beirut, where he vowed to clear his name and seek justice in his home country.

When asked whether he would seek a political career in Lebanon, which was left with no government following a wave of anti-corruption protests over its crippling economic crisis, Ghosn said: “I’m not a political man. I don’t have any political ambitions [in Lebanon]. But if anyone asked me to use my experience to serve my country, my opinion to improve my country, I am ready. But I don’t want a job in politics.”

Ministerial appointment

However prominent Lebanese analyst Fadi Walid Akoum told Gulf News last month that Ghosn is “seriously being considered for the Ministry of Industry” as prime minister-designate Hassan Diab seeks to form a cabinet of technocrats.

While Akoum said Ghosn may be rejected by the Lebanese public for the corruption charges he faces, his response at the conference was met with a round of applause from the Lebanese crowd.

Ghosn is also rumoured to have met with President Michel Aoun shortly after landing in Beirut, although he refused to confirm the meeting when asked to do so at the conference on Wednesday.

“It is not my place” to confirm the meeting, he said.