Ghosn Nowhere: Lebanon Hits Fugitive Auto Titan With Travel Ban

Apparently, Carlos Ghosn's rambling, multi-hour, multi-lingual press conference has only heightened the diplomatic pressure that Lebanon is facing over its decision to harbor the former auto executive and now-infamous fugitive from Japanese justice. 

According to CNN, one day after American cable news became transfixed by Ghosn's rambling press conference, choosing to cover it for hours despite the other major stories of the day, the Lebanese government has decided to slap Ghosn with a travel ban, meaning he will need to remain in Lebanon. 

Ghosn was asked about his travel plans during yesterday's press conference, and assured reporters that he and his lawyers would put plenty of thought into any decision to travel outside of Lebanon. Of course, Ghosn is the subject of an INTERPOL red notice that Ghosn's lawyers have reportedly told him they can fight. Lebanon confirmed that it received the red notice for Ghosn on Jan. 2.

Unfortunately for the Japanese, a red notice doesn't compel local authorities to work with Interpol: Lebanon and Japan don't have an extradition treaty, so Beirut is under no obligation to turn Ghosn over. 

As we've mentioned in our previous coverage of the Ghosn 'Great Escape', some Lebanese officials resent the fact that he "came to us with his problems", after spending most of his professional life abroad. Ghosn's parents were Lebanese, and he mostly grew up in Lebanon, though he also holds Brazilian citizenship. 

When a reporter suggested that he had swapped his cage in Tokyo for a larger cage in Beirut, Ghosn insisted that he didn't feel like a prison in his new environment, where he has been reunited with his wife. 

"Obviously I don't consider myself a prisoner in Lebanon," he told reporters. "I'm happy to be here. I'm with my friends, my family. I don't feel at all unhappy. I'm ready to stay a long time in Lebanon."

On Tuesday, with Ghosn's press conference imminent, and his threats to 'name names' having been made public, the Japanese issued an arrest warrant for his wife, Carole Ghosn. During his press conference, Ghosn dismissed the warrant as another attempt at Japanese persecution, and insisted that the timing wasn't just a coincidence.

Ghosn said a lot during Wednesday's press conference, which is hardly a surprise. After being locked up for 14 months, it was the first time we heard from Ghosn since his initial arrest for allegedly underreporting income and embezzling money. 

During his press conference, Ghosn delivered a rambling rebuttal of the official charges, accused senior Nissan executives of orchestrating his downfall, and insisted that Japan's justice system "violates the most basic principles of humanity."