03:49 GMT29 January 2020
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    Former Renault-Nissan Alliance chairman, Carlos Ghosn, said in a statement early on Tuesday, almost a day after reports emerged that he departed for Lebanon, that he had left Japan because of "injustice and political persecution".

    Ghosn, a Brazilian-born French citizen of Lebanese descent and formerly a high-profile employee of the Renault-Nissan carmaking alliance, blamed the "Japanese justice system" in his statement and said that he can "now finally communicate freely with the media".

    ​Ghosn said he would "no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system where guilt is presumed".

    Earlier, several media outlets citing sources alleged without elaborating that the remanded businessman - who was reportedly expected to stand trial in Japan next year - had fled to Lebanon.

    Ghosn was arrested by Japanese authorities in November 2018. The businessman faces four charges - which he denies - including hiding income and enriching himself through payments to dealerships in the Middle East.

    Ghosn is also accused of significantly under-reporting his income during his time as chairman of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. Ghosn claimed that he was paid 7.8 billion yen ($71 million) in salary from 2010-2018, but prosecutors claim he was paid 17 billion yen ($156 million).

    Nissan reportedly said that an internal investigation brought evidence that Ghosn used company funds for personal use and misrepresented the company's investments.

    After his arrest, Ghosn spent a period in Tokyo's main detention centre, but was allowed out, subject to stringent bail conditions which required him to stay in Japan.

    It remains unclear how Ghosn was able to escape to Lebanon following the strict court-imposed restrictions on his movements in Japan, including a ban on foreign travel and use of the internet and e-mail services.

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    statement, Nissan, Lebanon, Carlos Ghosn
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