Japan denies pressuring IMF to extradite Carlos Ghosn

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Japan’s Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi Tuesday denied allegations that Japan is using former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn’s extradition as a condition for IMF support to Lebanon.

Motegi claimed that Japan would never seek to further destabilize Lebanon’s beleaguered economy, distancing himself from remarks made by Nissan’s representative in Lebanon at the weekend.

Late last year, Ghosn fled to Lebanon from Japan, where he is wanted for allegedly committing financial irregularities as Nissan’s chief. Ghosn was able to remain in Lebanon, his home country, because it does not have a formal extradition treaty with Japan.

Sakher Hachem, who represents Nissan in Lebanon, recently told Arab News Japan that the Lebanese authorities would have to deport Ghosn to Japan if they wish to receive funding from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

But Motegi denied Hachem’s allegations.

“With the influx of Syrian refugees, the economic crisis, and the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic facing Lebanon, as well as given the general situation in the Middle East, we must avoid any situation that would make Lebanon more unstable,” Motegi said during a press conference, according to local Lebanese media.

A legal source in Lebanon supported Motegi’s claim that Japan has not sought to interfere in the IMF’s potential bail-out to Lebanon.

“There is nothing to suggest that Ghosn’s presence in Lebanon would cause the IMF to withhold financial aid from Lebanon,” the source told Arabiya English.

“Until now, there has been nothing from the Japanese side about this matter,” he added.

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