BEIRUT -- Lebanon’s ambassador to Japan has bought a mattress for disgraced auto executive Carlos Ghosn and is pushing to have him moved from solitary confinement, a Lebanese official said Wednesday.
Hady Hachem, the chief of cabinet of the minister of foreign affairs, said the government is also demanding that the Brazilian-born former chairman of Nissan Motor Co., who also holds Lebanese citizenship, be allowed to contact his family and is making sure he has proper legal representation. Ghosn, who once rescued Nissan from financial ruin, was arrested in Japan two weeks ago on suspicion he understated his income and misused company funds.
“Carlos Ghosn saved tens of thousands of jobs in France and Japan,” Hachem said in an interview. “If he made a mistake, he should be held accountable for it. But this should be done in a decent way. Why is he being humiliated in this manner?”
Ghosn has denied wrongdoing, people with direct knowledge of the case have said. He hasn’t had an opportunity to respond in public because he’s being held in detention without charge.
In Lebanon, news of Ghosn’s dramatic fall has united the country’s fractious politicians around him. A large billboard looming over the streets leading to downtown Beirut features his picture and reads: “We are all Carlos Ghosn.”
“The Lebanese state is acting only because it’s suspicious of the way Ghosn was arrested and treated as if he were a dangerous terrorist or a war criminal,” said Hachem. “That’s way too excessive.”
Lebanon’s ambassador to Japan has visited Ghosn three times, Hachem said. “Ghosn was sleeping on a mat, so the ambassador bought him a mattress. He’s sleeping on it now.”