PARIS • Former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn's wife Carole has said she was not in the loop about his audacious escape from Japan, adding that it was the "only choice possible".
Speaking after Japanese prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for her, Mrs Ghosn told France's Le Parisien newspaper on Tuesday that she knew nothing about the Dec 29-30 escape when Ghosn jumped bail and fled from Tokyo.
The interview came hours before an eagerly awaited press conference by the disgraced executive in Beirut yesterday.
"I wasn't aware of anything... I was in Beirut with my children to celebrate Christmas. Someone called me to say, 'I have a surprise for you'. It was the best in all my life!" she said.
"Fleeing was the only possible choice as he saw his trial being postponed indefinitely and he was being detained in conditions that deprived him of his rights with the aim of dehumanising him.
"Carlos cannot plead guilty for things he did not do," Mrs Ghosn said, adding that her husband was the "victim of an industrial plot and the war between Renault and Nissan".
She said he was slightly tense before his press conference, adding that this was "normal" as he was making "the most important statement of his life".
Ghosn had been facing trial in Japan on charges of financial misconduct, which he denies, before fleeing the country late last month for Lebanon, where he was reunited with Mrs Ghosn, his second wife.
The Japanese authorities on Tuesday said they had issued a warrant for the arrest of Mrs Ghosn, 53, on suspicion of giving false testimony.
In a written statement, they said she testified last April that she did not know a person who was involved in Ghosn's case, even though she was in communication with that person while the person was wiring money between companies at Ghosn's request. The statement did not disclose the identities of the person or the companies.
Mrs Ghosn, who is a citizen of both Lebanon and the United States, is believed to be in the Lebanese capital Beirut, where she was photographed with her husband on New Year's Eve.
It is not clear how a Japanese arrest warrant would affect her ability to return to the United States, which has an extradition agreement with Japan, or to travel to other countries with extensive ties to Japan.
While she is in Lebanon, Japan's options are limited. Lebanese law forbids extradition of a citizen.
Mrs Ghosn has been a vocal defender of her husband. Last April, in an interview with The New York Times, she described how the Japanese authorities treated her "like a terrorist" when they arrested Ghosn again that same month at a Tokyo home where they were staying while he was free on bail on earlier charges.
Formerly involved in the fashion industry, Mrs Ghosn was previously married to Mr Marwan Marshi, a banker of Lebanese Palestinian origin in New York, according to a relative of Mr Marshi who asked not to be named. The couple was involved in philanthropy, and Mrs Ghosn met Ghosn at a charity event in New York, according to a friend of Ghosn who also asked not to be named.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NYTIMES