Japanese prosecutors have obtained an arrest warrant for Carole Ghosn, the wife of Carlos Ghosn, in the latest move by the country to contain the fallout from the former auto executive’s daring escape from trial a week ago.
Tokyo prosecutors issued a statement announcing the warrant on Tuesday.
The action means Carole, who is now in Lebanon with Ghosn, could be arrested if she returns to Japan. Authorities said they obtained the warrant against Ghosn’s wife for giving false testimony in court last April.
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 alleged 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 has said his wife and other family members played no role in his escape to Lebanon, after reports began to appear suggesting that Carole or other members of his family had helped plan his escape — which, if accurate, would expose them to criminal charges in Japan or elsewhere.
On Jan. 2, Ghosn said in a statement that “I alone arranged for my departure.” His family, he said, “had no role whatsoever.”
Carole, who had departed Japan in a hurry after her husband was taken into custody on a fourth charge in early April, has spent much of the last year lobbying tirelessly on his behalf — a campaign that was taking an obvious toll.
“They have destroyed our lives, we are scarred forever,” she said of Ghosn’s accusers in a November interview with Bloomberg Television. “It’s been the hardest year of my life.”
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 U.S. passport, though 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 $ 5 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.”
The arrest warrant is “pathetic,” a spokeswoman for Ghosn said on Tuesday.
The warrant comes head of a press conference planned by Ghosn in Beirut on Wednesday.
“Last time Carlos Ghosn announced a press conference and got re-arrested. This time, the day before he is announced to speak out freely for the first time, they issued an arrest warrant for his wife Carole Ghosn,” the spokeswoman said.
Carole Ghosn voluntarily went back to Japan nine months ago to answer prosecutors’ questions and was free to go without any charges, the spokeswoman said. “The issuance of this warrant is pathetic,” she said.
Reuters contributed to this report