From the rooftop terrace here at the Albergo luxury hotel in Beirut, you can see the misery, the flaking facades of the houses, the rubble in the inner courtyards. There are often power outages in the evenings, the water isn't potable and the people in the streets are calling for a revolution. In a few days, street fighting will resume down below, not far from here. But the man coming here for the interview won’t be looking down. He’ll be looking up, just as he has always done.
Carlos Ghosn is a fugitive wanted by the police and, with private assets once estimated at $120 million, perhaps one of the most privileged. Until recently, he was the head of one of the world’s biggest companies, an alliance between the car manufacturers Nissan and Renault. He led an empire with close to a half-million workers in 200 countries, oversaw 122 factories, sold more than 10 million cars a year and spent more than a hundred days out of the year in the company’s private jet. He was the king of a corporate empire for almost 20 years.
Until his fall. Japanese prosecutors have accused Ghosn of tax evasion and the private use of company funds, allegations he denies. After spending months in jail in Tokyo, officials later placed him under house arrest. In December, he fled to Lebanon, the country of his grandparents and the place where he grew up.
His escape was so spectacular that it even inspired a video game titled, "Ghone Is Gone.” The planning included a surgical mask, a bullet train, a mysterious black box, two private jets, four pilots, a former American elite soldier and a Lebanese war veteran. Ghosn simply skipped the 12-million-euro bail he had paid in Japan.
He’s been here in Beirut now for a little over a month, living in a noble, salmon-colored house in the Achrafieh quarter, a primarily Christian district known for its nightlife, fine dining, luxury hotels and expensive galleries.
Ghosn arrives for his interview in an SUV, with his bodyguards saying it would be unsafe for him to walk the 300 meters from his home to the hotel. He’s wearing a blue suit, dark leather loafers and a Swatch on his left wrist. A hefty bodyguard with an earpiece pushes his way into the elevator. Ghosn seems composed and polite, almost charming.
From the hotel’s rooftop terrace, he points to the snow-capped mountains nearby, behind which his vineyard is located. He also points to the sea, where his yacht was once anchored and to the cloudless blue sky over Beirut, his city. He continues to maintain the pace of the past. He grows impatient and grants the photographer just a few minutes for pictures. "This is all going to be part of the time I have granted you for the interview,” he says sharply to us journalists. He follows with: "OK, when are we finally going to get started?"
DER SPIEGEL: Mr. Ghosn, why do you need a bodyguard?
Ghosn: I was treated like a dangerous criminal in Japan. I spent four months in solitary confinement. Then I was under house arrest. I was watched constantly. No matter what I was doing, I always had someone behind me or behind my family. My phone was bugged. My wife and I were forbidden from communicating with each other for over nine months. I was treated as if I was a plague on society. The Japanese authorities have made clear that they are doing everything in their power to get me back. What do you conclude from this? I must protect my family, my friends. I must protect myself.
DER SPIEGEL: Are you worried about getting kidnapped?
Ghosn: I don’t want to speculate. But after everything that’s happened, only a fool would be careless.
DER SPIEGEL: You’ve been in Beirut for almost a month. Interpol has issued an international arrest warrant, there are still ongoing legal proceedings against you in Japan and several other countries have opened investigations. You are here because there is no extradition treaty between Lebanon and Japan. Has this country become something like a golden cage for you?
Ghosn: Lebanon is not a prison for me. This is a country that I love. Many people here respect me and have expressed sympathy for what I have been through in recent months. They view what happened to me as an injustice. This allows me to better defend myself against the allegations that are being lodged against me. I want to explain this tragic case, which began with my arrest in November 2018. It has been tragic not only for me and my family, but also for the company that I led.
DER SPIEGEL: What do you mean by that?
Ghosn: Since my arrest, Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi have lost one-third of their market value, more than $20 billion. That’s a lot of money in my view. Who’s responsible for that? As a shareholder, I am owed an explanation. In my case, we’re talking about a couple million dollars in allegedly unaccounted for expenses -- against stock market losses of more than 20 billion. But no one is talking about that. What kind of logic is that? Where’s the logic for the shareholders? What sense does it make for the workers? Because, look, the workers will be the next victims.
DER SPIEGEL: You consider yourself to be innocent?
Ghosn: I am innocent.
Ghosn has now moved to the hotel’s café, where he’s sitting in a heavy leather armchair. But he’s unhappy with it and changes places again. Ghosn is legendary for his paranoia. His lawyers say that even when he picks out a table in a restaurant, he grows suspicious that people who were sitting there before his arrival could be spying on him. His left leg twitches almost nonstop during the interview and his eyes dart back and forth restlessly. He gesticulates with his hands as he speaks. After just the first few minutes of the conversation, it has already become clear that this is not a person who feels remorse. This is a man who fights and delegates and wants to make decisions. He has come on his own, without any PR adviser at his side.
A little over four weeks ago, police claim that he left his home in Tokyo for a walk wearing a hat and a mask and that he met two helpers in a hotel before boarding a high-speed train to Osaka, where the three entered another hotel. After a few hours, the two helpers left the building on their own, carrying a large box for musical equipment with them.
Because of his diminutive stature of 1.67 meters (just under 5’ 6”), Ghosn is often compared to Napoleon. His size may have played to his advantage in boarding a private jet undetected that was waiting for him in Osaka. It is believed that Ghosn was hiding in the music equipment box. The box wasn't scanned at the terminal because it was too large for the machine. He arrived in Beirut one day later.
DER SPIEGEL: We know that you have remained tight-lipped about your escape because you don’t want to incriminate those who helped you, but what was the most difficult moment of your escape? Was it the time you had to spend in the box?
Ghosn: No, that moment wasn’t really hard for me. I wasn’t afraid. Honestly, the idea of having to stay there in Japan is what scared me. Japan was a prison for me, certainly a comfortable one since I was allowed to stay at home. I could take a shower every day. I could eat whatever I wanted, wear a watch, watch television and read books. But contact with my wife was forbidden and I wasn’t allowed to use the internet. And this would have gone on for years, a real nightmare. I found myself facing a manipulative and discriminatory system. I could only win: If the escape had gone wrong, I would have been right back where I started.
DER SPIEGEL: If you’re so certain of your innocence, then why didn’t you fight to prove it in a Japanese court?
Ghosn: My lawyers told me the trial could take up to four or five years. Four or five years! And the Japanese have made clear that they are not interested in my innocence. I was treated like a serious criminal. I was interrogated daily. They wanted to break me. It was a violation of human rights. This is a political trial, the revenge of a state against an individual. Japan fears losing Nissan to Renault, so, they had to get me out of the way. I had the choice of either escaping or dying in Japan.
For decades, Carlos Ghosn's rise seemed like a blueprint for corporate leaders. Born in Brazil, Ghosn grew up in Lebanon, and completed his studies at an elite university in Paris. He followed that up with an internship at Michelin, where he would rise to become a plant manager at the age of 26, the head of Michelin Brazil at 30 and the chief of Michelin North America at 35 before going on to become the deputy head of French carmaker Renault. He quickly developed a reputation for being "le cost cutter,” a crisis manager who turned companies around with tough austerity measures.
When Ghosn joined the struggling Japanese carmaker Nissan in 1999, he broke up ossified structures and replaced quarreling management with "cross functional teams,” without regard to a person’s background or gender. He fired many people over the age of 50 or pushed them into subsidiaries.
To many Japanese, what he did was tantamount to sacrilege. The Japanese have a relationship to Nissan, a company steeped in tradition, that is similar to the one Germans have with Volkswagen. Initially, there was strong resistance to Ghosn, an inscrutable foreigner with three nationalities. But he never spared himself, either. His workday, which generally lasted from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., earned him the nickname "7-Eleven,” like the American convenience store. He shunned the meetings at bars, karaoke and golf that are de rigueur among the Japanese elite. Forbes magazine soon named him the "hardest working man in the brutally competitive global car business.” Over the years, he laid off more than 20,000 workers.
But he succeeded in what had appeared to be a hopeless endeavor: He revived a highly indebted carmaker that had been declared dead, doubled its revenues and increased profits tenfold.
After Nissan and its French competitor Renault established an alliance, Ghosn in 2005 became the first executive to be the chairman of two leading global corporations at the same time. Mitsubishi joined the alliance a few years later. By that point, Ghosn had become a hero to the Japanese. Superhero comics about him appeared; the emperor awarded him a medal; Lebanon featured his face on a postage stamp; Harvard professors praised his methods; and he ran as a torchbearer during the Olympic Games in Rio. He held his wedding at Versailles. He had made it.
Then, in November 2018, Ghosn flew by private jet from Beirut, one of his places of residence, to Tokyo, where he planned to meet his daughter at one of the city’s most exclusive sushi bars. Officials arrested Ghosn shortly after the plane landed. Japanese prosecutors have accused him of understating his annual income in yearly financial statements, embezzling company funds and tax evasion.
Further accusations would follow, with talk of the use of company money for luxury apartments in Tokyo, Paris, Rio, Amsterdam, Beirut and New York. And of Zegna suits and Cartier watches paid for using a company credit card. Prosecutors also claim that Ghosn temporarily transferred personal losses during the year of the global financial crisis in 2008 to Nissan’s balance sheet. They claim he also had money paid to businessmen in Saudi Arabia and Oman out of the company’s coffers that were then funneled to his private accounts through those channels. French authorities are also investigating. Ghosn has since lost all his positions, and Nissan is suing its former chairman for 83 million euros in damages.
Ghosn and his attorneys have stated that no irregular payments were made, that everything had gone according to contract and that the management board had been involved in all decisions. Ghosn claims to be the victim of a political conspiracy.
Did the Frenchman become too powerful for the Japanese? Nobuo Gohara, a prominent former Japanese prosecutor, also considers Ghosn's arrest to be entirely disproportionate to the legal charges. He suspects there are "strong forces” behind it, such as the office of the prime minister and the Economics Ministry.
Whatever the case may be, Ghosn found himself sitting in a jail cell measuring five square meters within five hours of his arrival in Tokyo, his name swapped for an inmate number. Kosuge, the prison where he was held, is notorious as the place where Japan’s death row inmates await their execution. The cells are constantly floodlit, inmates must stand at attention during the morning roll call and they are required to sit cross-legged in their cells during the day. Ghosn was interrogated for hours each day, but he didn’t confess to anything and denied all the allegations against him. He lost 7 kilograms during his stay in prison and aged visibly. He was only permitted to have a pen and a notepad, but no phone, no belt and no shoelaces.
During his imprisonment, Ghosn wore jogging pants and flip-flops and spent his time reading the teachings of Buddha. He spent a total of 108 days in jail, but refused show any self-pity to journalists who visited him there, nor did he complain. Ghosn has always performed at his best in crises, but this time, it’s himself he’ll have to rescue - not a company.
DER SPIEGEL: How has the time you spent in jail changed you?
Ghosn: I have become more careful. And more paranoid, too. I have become aware of what people are capable of in situations in which they’re afraid. Of course, I have come to appreciate the simple life of a free man much more now. And I have gotten to know a side of Japan that I didn’t know before. Don’t get me wrong, I have great respect for the Japanese people. I spent many years there. But there are black spots in the country that should be removed.
DER SPIEGEL: You were widely respected as an executive and a welcome guest at the World Economic Forum in Davos. What kind of support have you received from former colleagues?
Ghosn: I don’t think any of my former colleagues have helped me. The only manager of a large corporation who contacted me was Dieter Zetsche (Eds: the former chairman of Daimler). We were friends for many years, and we renewed our friendship on the phone. And (French President Emmanuel) Macron sent (former French President Nicolas) Sarkozy, who visited me in Japan. Sarkozy is a man who helped me a lot. He said: Because you are French.
DER SPIEGEL: In similar cases, managers often admit mistakes after their time in prison and express remorse. But you were considered to be incorrigible, arrogant and overbearing. Have you since become more modest?
Ghosn: I don’t know where this accusation comes from. I don’t feel that description applies to me. I am a man who makes decisions. I am ambitious. If I wasn’t ambitious, then I wouldn’t have become the head of one of the world’s largest automobile companies. Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi – these were all companies considered to be in decline and I turned them into leading carmakers. The automobile market is brutal. It’s an extremely competitive market with competitors like Toyota, Ford and General Motors. It’s not a world in which you advance by being nice, holding hands and kissing on the cheeks. Boy Scouts and little boys don’t get far there. You need a clear vision and clear decisions. And you have to execute them. I did that for 17 years.
DER SPIEGEL: At Renault and Nissan, they now say that you had a dictatorial management style.
Ghosn: It's quite interesting that people are now saying: "Ah, Mr. Ghosn was a dictator.” I managed each of these companies for over 10 years. Why didn’t anybody come forward at the time and complain about this dictatorship? As far as I know, a dictator seizes power and never relinquishes it. My mandate was renewed by Nissan’s shareholders every two years. At Renault, shareholders re-elected me every four years. If they hadn’t been satisfied, they had the option of not renewing my contract.
DER SPIEGEL: So, there’s no truth to the accusations?
Ghosn: It’s part of a campaign against me that I would call "character assassination.” Nissan started it after my arrest, and Renault has also been involved, albeit to a lesser extent, for reasons I cannot yet explain. Suddenly, they said, "Ah, Mr. Ghosn was a manipulator, he had a lot of influence.” Of course, I had a lot of influence – I was given that influence. But no, I’m not a dictator. I’m a decision-maker. When employees came to my office with questions, they did not leave the room without an answer from me. When I joined Nissan in 1999, it was chaos. The company had $20 billion in debts, virtually no profits and the brand had reached rock bottom. In 2016, Nissan was twice that size and was making $20 billion in profits. Why are they treating me like this? I don’t understand it.
DER SPIEGEL: Did you stay in power for too long?
Ghosn: By the summer of 2018, I was no longer interested in extending my term. I wanted to leave. I thought I had worked enough. It was Renault’s board of directors and the French government that asked me to stay on to support the next step of the alliance between Renault and Nissan. I should have left at the time and I very much regret that. It ended in disaster.
Observers say that in the late phase of his career, Ghosn focused primarily on the alliance between Renault and Nissan. By that point, he was only flying to Tokyo three times a month and was largely commuting between Paris and New York, with less frequent visits to Japanese plants. During this period, he also set sales targets for his Nissan managers that could only be reached through heavy discounts, which led to a decline in profits.
His leadership style is controversial. Japanese journalist Hisao Inoue, who has covered Ghosn for years, has reported about how he would rip up files given to him by his subordinates, instead demanding that they present the information verbally. "I am relying completely on you!” he would tell them.
At Nissan, it is said that he surrounded himself with yes-men and rewarded his confidants with stock options. It has also been reported that he acted impatiently when confronted with objections, answering, "Don’t teach me.” Managers who criticized him would be shunted aside. Ghosn denies the allegations.
In a book she wrote about him, his ex-wife Rita describes how he would draw up lists and rules of conduct she was supposed to follow -- that she was supposed to be home when he returned from work, for example. He would only take care of major issues, leaving her largely responsible for raising their children. Nevertheless, he discussed child-rearing on Japanese television.
Starting in 2011, a series of poor decisions were made at the company. Resentment grew among colleagues at Nissan over special payments made to workers sent over from Renault. Skilled employees lost motivation and discontent at Nissan grew, but it was is initially directed mostly at Ghosn's deputy, Hiroto Saikawa. Ghosn's marriage also collapsed, and he met the Beirut-born American Carole Nahas. It’s at this time, say Ghosn’s critics, that he turned Nissan into his own private cash machine; they accuse him of wiring millions of dollars to his children’s bank accounts.
Despite his reputation for parsimoniousness, "le cost cutter” bought a yacht for $12 million, purportedly using company money. Money was routed through accounts in the Virgin Islands. A wine cellar was built in Beirut, and the property renovations, supervised by Nahas, who had become his wife, cost millions. The theme of the wedding at Versailles was inspired by the French queen Marie Antoinette. Scandals ensued. In October 2017, Nissan had to recall vehicles after they failed important safety tests in a development that was attributed to Ghosn’s austerity measures. He, in turn, blamed his deputy Saikawa.
DER SPIEGEL: Nissan and Renault have lodged several accusations against you. One is that you misappropriated company funds. You celebrated your 60th birthday at Versailles, French star chef Alain Ducasse provided the catering and there were fireworks after the meal. The company paid 600,000 euros for the event.
Ghosn: That was the 15th anniversary of the alliance between Renault and Nissan. And not my birthday. At birthdays, there is a cake, candles and a song. I gave a speech about the alliance and not about me. I demand that the speech be released.
DER SPIEGEL: Your birthday was on March 9. The 15th anniversary of the alliance would have been on March 27. Many of the guests who attended were your friends.
Ghosn: I said to my staff at the time: "Listen, we have to do this on a Saturday, because the guests are not going to fly in from abroad on a Thursday afternoon. They will only come during the weekend.” And then I was told that the only Saturday that was available was March 9. I said: "That’s bad timing because I wanted to hold a birthday party for myself on March 9.” We tried to negotiate, but I was told, "Listen, if you want Versailles, then it has to be on March 9.” So, I decided to go with March 9 and organized a birthday party for myself on March 10 that took place at another location in Paris and I covered it out of my own pocket.
DER SPIEGEL: You also celebrated your wedding and your wife’s birthday at Versailles two years later. The price to rent the venue was 50,000 euros, an amount that was billed to Renault. The company has since accused you of misusing company funds.
Ghosn: It was like this: Renault was a major patron of Versailles. We do this because we are good citizens. So, Catherine Pégard, the president of Versailles, told me one day, "Mr. Ghosn, if you need to have a personal event someday, I would be happy to provide a hall for you." It's an honor that isn’t bestowed on everyone and I kept it in the back of my mind. A few months later, my wife told me, "I will be celebrating my 50th birthday soon, my friends are asking to see me.” I said, "Listen, it’s good timing. I’ve just been offered a hall in Versailles.” If you want, I can ask.” So, a hall in Versailles was made available to me. What would you do? I considered it to be a gesture of goodwill. It was only years later that I was told, "Mr. Ghosn, you have done something wrong.” I was not aware of it. If I had known, I would have paid.
DER SPIEGEL: For years, you used the company plane to fly your family to vacation destinations. According to a report by Nissan, additional costs generated to the company amounted to more than 5 million euros.
Ghosn: I was entitled to three trips a year in first class, with the whole family, to any destination. It’s written in my contract. After Sept. 11, there were many restrictions on commercial flights. At the time, I was told: "Mr. Ghosn, you can no longer take commercial flights. Please use the private jet.” No one came to ask me: "Mr. Ghosn, we saw your children on the plane.” Look at the contracts. I’ll have all the documents when this goes to court.
DER SPIEGEL: Your home in Beirut was also purchased at the company’s expense. The purchase and renovation came at a cost of more than $15 million.
Ghosn: Come on, guys. No, no, no. Why did the company offer the house? Because they were afraid I would leave. Because they said: "We need to keep him, because we're afraid somebody is going to hire him.” How do you retain talent? You say: "OK, I’m going to buy you a house, I’m going to pay for your kids' schooling.” It was part of the business. And everyone was aware of this. It was approved by other executives.
In 2018, external and internal auditors began examining Nissan in greater detail. Certain cash flows and financial support caught their attention and pressure began increasing on Nissan management. But Carlos Ghosn was far away at the time. Insiders report that many at Nissan grew nervous at the time, feeling that they had been placed at the mercy of the investigations and that there was no longer anyone there to protect them. The scandal came in handy for Ghosn’s detractors in Japan. They didn’t like the fact that he wanted to integrate Nissan more strongly into France’s Renault. So, they seized their opportunity and used every means at their disposal to go after him.
So what does all this mean for Ghosn? Is he a savior, a victim or a criminal? Attentive observers of the proceedings, like French business journalist Yann Rousseau or Japanese automotive journalist Inoue, see him as being a bit of everything. Ghosn, they say, has indeed fallen victim to a judicial system that is considered very harsh. Japan’s legal system is based on Confucian values, with the focus on punishment and ostracism of the accused. Even traffic offenders are mentioned in the Japanese press by full name, age, profession and place of residence – and they often lose their jobs immediately. Indeed, society frequently issues its own verdict outside the courtroom -- to the point that few are still interested when the actual legal verdict is handed down.
Japanese prosecutors only take cases they are certain they can win, resulting in a conviction rate that is greater than 99 percent.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that Ghosn acted lawfully. Investigators are in possession of thousands of internal documents, emails and bank statements that they have cited as evidence. It will take years before the courts determine whether he is guilty or not, and until then, the presumption of innocence applies. But the other question is one of decency: Is everything permitted that hasn’t been explicitly prohibited?
DER SPIEGEL: Your salary has been the subject of frequent criticism. Until recently, you were paid more than 15 million euros a year. The French government, especially then-Economics Minister Emmanuel Macron, fiercely criticized your salary a number of times, and in 2016, the French state, which has holdings in the company, even tried to push through a reduction during the shareholders meeting. There have also been efforts to cap executive salaries in other countries. In Germany, the Volkswagen Group implemented a rule in 2017 that no executive could earn more than 10 million euros. Is this something for which you have understanding?
Ghosn: In 2009, I was offered the position of head of General Motors. I really regret the fact that I didn’t take the job. They would have doubled my salary and I would have been spared all the misery. Let me tell you what will happen if salaries are capped in Germany: The good talent will go abroad, To the U.S. or China.
DER SPIEGEL: So you have no understanding for salary caps?
Ghosn: My wages were not determined by me. They were set by my board of directors. Look at the salary of the new Renault CEO: His entry salary is higher than the salary I was getting after nearly 15 years in the position.
DER SPIEGEL: You were a member of the board.
Ghosn: Not just me. My salary was also disclosed to the shareholders. So if the shareholders were not happy with my salary, all they had to do was release me. Look, I was replaced by five people. I was chairman and CEO of Nissan, chairman and CEO of Renault and chairman of Mitsubishi. I was replaced by one against five. When you add the salary of these five people plus assistants, travel, I don't think it was a good bargain. I can tell you I was a low-cost CEO. So, you've got 15 minutes, maximum, left for our interview. Then I have to go.
DER SPIEGEL: Japan is a country where modesty is highly valued, even among executives. Can you understand way they might find your attitude offensive?
Ghosn: Yes, there are people who feel that it is immoral and unethical to make millions. It’s a cultural issue. If you were to go to the U.S. and become the head of General Motors and you made only $16 million, people there would call you an idiot. The predecessor earned $25 million, so everyone expects you to make at least $25 million. More would be even better. It’s the same if you go to China. It’s neither good nor bad, they’re just different cultures.
DER SPIEGEL: Even if the courts do declare your innocence, won’t you still bear some culpability? Should you have acted differently?
Ghosn: There are things that are legal and things that are not. That’s business. But morals are personal. There are different ways of looking at it. When I think about what I should have done differently, there were lots of people I trusted who I shouldn’t have trusted. I should have been more ruthless, harder. There are people I should have gotten rid of when they made bad decisions – at Nissan and at Renault. But I kept them at the company and they turned on me. I had a lot of empathy for people and I paid dearly for that.
Carlos Ghosn’s grandfather once traveled from the mountains to Beirut by foot. He could barely read, he had little money and could only speak Arabic. He boarded a ship to Rio de Janeiro, went into the jungle and made his fortune with rubber, which was used to make tires for cars.
His grandson Carlos Ghosn is fond of talking about his grandfather and about his own successes. But there’s one thing he has remained silent about his entire life: When he came to Lebanon from Brazil with his mother at the age of six, his father, Georges Ghosn, was sentenced to death. French journalists Régis Arnaud and Yann Rousseau researched the 1960 case in the archives of a Lebanese newspaper and the press coverage states that Ghosn’s father, a businessman and merchant, was involved in the killing of a priest after their arrival in the country. At the time, priests were used as messengers to deliver gold or diamonds inconspicuously to buyers. There had apparently been a dispute over money that the priest owed Ghosn’s father after a diamond deal. It was a big case in Lebanon and the accusations turned into front-page news. The case is an open secret in Beirut, but the international press hasn’t reported on it for decades.
It can’t be proven beyond doubt whether Georges Ghosn really killed the priest. He attempted to escape from prison twice, and his death sentence was later commuted. But Carlos Ghosn’s French biographers say he has always had to fight for recognition by the Lebanese elite as the result of this blemish in his family history. He has invested millions in Lebanon, he has met with the rich and powerful, he has influential friends and he’s close to the president.
DER SPIEGEL: What will you do now? How do you imagine your future?
Ghosn: I have many job offers, but I am going to clear my name first. Then, I am going to hold each of my opponents accountable. I’ll sue Renault and Nissan for the shares they owe me and my severance pay and bonus. There’s over $15 million at stake.
DER SPIEGEL: In your memoir, you describe the Lebanon of your youth, Beirut in the 1960s, as a sunny paradise. Today, the country is on the brink of national bankruptcy and unemployment stands at 35 percent. You have been mentioned as a candidate to become economics minister.
Ghosn: Lebanon could be a much more prosperous country. But I won’t play any political role here and I’m not looking for a job. But I would be willing to volunteer and share my experience. I can help anyone who is seeking advice. I see a lot of potential here.
DER SPIEGEL: The French media say that you fear of prison and that the reason for your ambition is also due to the fact that your father spent so much time in prison. He was put on trial for murder here in Beirut and was convicted.
Ghosn: I’m not going to talk about my father, who died 20 years ago. That’s a personal thing. I was always someone who was different. I was curious. I like cars. I don't know if I was ambitious as a kid. I never thought I would end up as the CEO of a big company. But I always wanted to live life to the fullest. I wanted to make a difference.