Japan seeks Interpol 'red notice' for Carlos Ghosn's wife Carole, NHK says

The notice could restrict Carole Ghosn's movements outside of Lebanon, where she joined her husband. PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (BLOOMBERG) - Japan is seeking an Interpol "Red Notice" for Carole Ghosn, the wife of Carlos Ghosn, the latest move by the country to put pressure on the former auto executive after his surprise escape from trial.

Investigators have already asked International Criminal Police Organisation for the notice, which could restrict Carole Ghosn's movements outside of Lebanon, where she joined her husband, national broadcaster NHK reported, citing unidentified sources.

A representative for Japan's Ministry of Justice declined to comment on the report. Interpol didn't respond to a request seeking comment.

Interpol has already issued a Red Notice for Carlos Ghosn upon the request of the Japanese government. If one is granted for Carole, it would make it difficult for her to leave the Mediterranean country, although, as Interpol stresses, "a Red Notice is an international wanted persons notice, but it is not an arrest warrant."

Ghosn, the former chairman of Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co, made his way to Beirut at the end of December after fleeing Japan to escape what he called the country's "hostage" legal system. He is accused of financial misconduct by Japanese prosecutors, charges he has consistently rejected since his November 2018 arrest.

Prosecutors in Japan had issued a warrant for Carole's arrest earlier this week, saying that she gave false testimony in court last April. That means she could be arrested if she returns to Japan.

Ghosn had been barred from meeting his wife while he was on bail in Japan, because authorities believed she had been aiding him in covering up for his crimes. That was the "straw that broke the camel's back" in his decision to flee, Ghosn told Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo.

Ghosn's family views the arrest warrant as an effort to intimidate him before his press conference in Beirut on Wednesday, according to a person close to the family who asked not to be identified discussing private conversations. Carole was truthful in her testimony, the person said.

Ghosn was re-arrested in Japan in early April just after announcing plans to speak to journalists there. The Ghosns were together when he was arrested last April for the fourth time, during an early morning raid into their apartment.

Carole has said that her privacy was invaded in the process, with a female prosecutor waiting for her as she exited the shower. Her Lebanese passport and mobile phones were confiscated by the authorities, according to Ghosn's lawyers.

She left Japan with her US passport, though she came back for questioning the same month. Carole is also entangled in the allegations: in one breach of trust charge, Ghosn is accused of moving US$5 million (S$6.8 million) from Nissan to a dealership and then into companies including one headed by Carole and controlled by Ghosn. She said in the interview she "knew nothing" about her husband's business dealings and "has been cleared."

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