“I want him to be Minister of Industry.”
The photo above is the latest image of Carlos Ghosn, 67, taken in early October this year. Since fleeing from Japan in December 2007, Ghosn has been living in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, but on this day, he and his wife Carol went to a village in the suburbs to pick olives. On this day, he and his wife Carol went to a village in the suburbs to pick olives, and the smile on his face as he held a pair of twig shears suggests that he enjoyed his leisure time.
While Ghosn continues to live a comfortable life, the Japanese judicial authorities have consistently demanded his extradition to Lebanon, and there has been some movement around him, including the conviction of his fugitive collaborator in July this year. Why is there so much leeway? Apparently, there is a “secret plan” that Ghosn is working on to avoid extradition. An acquaintance of Ghosn’s reveals.
“In late August, Ghosn succeeded in getting a meeting with the Lebanese Minister of Industry, Imad Houbara. It is said that Ghosn approached him enthusiastically.
In Lebanon, the cabinet resigned to take responsibility for the explosion at the port of Beirut last August. During the gap of more than a year, Minister Hobbala has been supporting the Lebanese economy as an “interim minister. In other words, Ghosn had an opportunity to meet with Minister Hobbala just before the new cabinet was formed. The purpose was, quite simply, to sell himself. An acquaintance of mine continues.
“The meeting between Mr. Hobbala and Ghosn was held in the minister’s office, and a wide range of opinions were exchanged, including those on Lebanon’s industrial policy. During the meeting, Ghosn directly appealed to Hobbala, saying, ‘I want you to make me minister of industry in the new cabinet. In fact, there are many people in Lebanon who are not members of parliament, but have been appointed as ministers by the private sector.
In his joint speech after the meeting, Minister Hobballah commented that he could not think of anyone more suitable for the position of Minister of Industry than Ghosn. Ghosn also looked satisfied throughout.”
Since his flight from Japan, Ghosn has been working diligently on his plan to become minister. In September last year, he announced his support for the Maronite Holy Spirit University in order to get closer to the Maronites, who hold the real power in Lebanon. In March of this year, he held a business seminar at the same university, where he showed off his abilities by inviting the current head of a global automaker as a lecturer, making use of the personal connections he built during his time at Nissan. In June, he also released a documentary film about himself produced in cooperation with an Arab broadcasting company and the BBC to promote his abilities as a businessman.
“In June, he released a documentary film about his life in cooperation with an Arab broadcasting company and the BBC. However, Ghosn believes that if he becomes a minister with immunity from arrest, he can leave the country with impunity. The question is which minister he will be, but given his experience in rebuilding Nissan, he is most likely to be appointed as Minister of Industry. That’s why he has planned to meet with Mr. Hobbala.
Preparations for the presidential election
Then, in September this year, the new Lebanese cabinet was announced. Carlos Ghosn’s name was not among them. George Bouzikian, who was appointed Minister of Industry, holds two nationalities, Lebanese and Canadian. He has a similar background to Ghosn, including international business.
Nevertheless, Ghosn has not given up on his plan to become minister.
“Ghosn had predicted that he would not be appointed minister immediately in the new cabinet in September. However, there is a high possibility that the Diet will hold elections next June and the cabinet will be formed again. That’s where I’m setting my sights. Surprisingly, if that doesn’t work out, he is also preparing to run for the presidency, which is scheduled for next December.
Although Ghosn is determined to become a minister, it is said that he is not getting much support from the Lebanese people, as it is clear that he is a wealthy man working for his own protection. His self-righteousness, which has been a problem since his days at Nissan, seems to be unchanged even now that he is on the run.
From the October 22-29, 2021 issue of FRIDAY
Photo by： RAMZI Mansour (2nd photo)