Carlos Ghosn, prodigal and fugitive son, returns to Beirut


Since then, Mr. Ghosn has lived the Lebanese dream. If the Lebanese are not, as the billboards said, "all Carlos Ghosn,quot;, there were many who could have wanted to be.

Lebanese generations have left the country, fleeing civil war, instability and an economy that offers little to young people to make fortune abroad. Mr. Ghosn was a model of that path: prestigious schools in Paris, promotions at Michelin in France and then in the United States, the presidency of a multi-continent automotive empire that includes Nissan, Mitsubishi and Renault. There were houses in Tokyo, in the 16th district of Paris and in Rio, plus a private plane to take him there.

But throughout his global rise, Mr. Ghosn remained proud Lebanese, and Lebanese proud of him. His first and second wife are Lebanese. He graduated from the middle class neighborhood of his childhood in Achrafieh, the largest community in Beirut, where he maintained an immaculate pink villa, which, according to an internal investigation by Nissan, a subsidiary of the company had bought for $ 8.75 million and renewed for another $ 6 million, one of several properties worldwide that the subsidiary had paid for Mr. Ghosn's use.

In February, Mr. Karam, the Lebanese television host, broadcast a 47-minute special on Mr. Ghosn, praising his career and lamenting his fall.

"The legend of the automobile world is currently in a cold and lonely prison," Karam said at the end, citing the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." .

"Carlos Ghosn," Mr. Karam continued, "you are not alone."

On Tuesday, a private security guard was standing outside the pink mansion, but Mr. Ghosn was not seen. He had issued a statement through a spokeswoman announcing that "he would no longer be held hostage by a manipulated Japanese justice system."

He added: "I have not fled from justice, I have escaped injustice and political persecution."

In fleeing from Japan to Lebanon, Ghosn has changed a country where the rigidity of the justice system has been subject to scrutiny by one in which the judiciary is remarkably politicized and the rule of law is remarkably volatile. But the same atmosphere of impunity that can help him is under attack from some of the people who once celebrated him as a popular hero.