That’s what Marine Le Pen, head of the French National Rally political party (NR), believes as she expressed her opinion around the case of Carlos Ghosn, a French citizen, and the French government failing to assist him.
In an interview with RTL on Thursday, as reported by Le Figaro, Le Pen put in question the consular role of assistance that is supposed to be “given to all French people” outside France.
Marine Le Pen, a former presidential candidate, just brought to light what most Lebanese, and probably the world, have been wondering. In all this affair of Carlos Ghosn since his arrest in 2018, where was France? And why has Ghosn sought refuge in Lebanon instead of France?
“The government has done absolutely nothing” in regards to “the respect of the rights of defense of Mr. Ghosn, who is a Frenchman,” she said, according to Le Figaro.
As we know already, Ghosn fled Japan to Lebanon after being placed under house arrest in Tokyo before a trial for financial misconduct. In his press conference on Wednesday in Beirut, he denounced the conditions of his detention: “I thought I was going to die in Japan. I had the impression of being a hostage.”
A ‘hostage’ who, according to Le Pen, was not afforded consular support from his country for his rights of defense.
Known for her bold and outspoken stance with no political correctness to hinder what she cares to convey, Marine Le Pen made it clear that she has “no admiration” for the professional journey of Carlos Ghosn whose aggressive campaign to save Renault had required massive outsourcing of jobs.
She also considers Ghosn’s probability to have “engaged in penal misconduct,” as she articulated it in her interview.
However, she stands on that France should have stepped in to help its citizen Ghosn held in Japan. She pointed out that there is “no reason not to respect the Japanese judicial system” but “at the same time, we are obliged to note that their notion of presumption of innocence is very different from ours.”
She went on adding, as reported by Le Figaro, that she is not “fooled” and she knows that “justice can be used to support economic interests” in some countries. That remark of hers does seem to insinuate that she has doubts about this judicial case against Ghosn.
“What has France done [for Carlos Gosh]? What has done the consular aid that normally should be given to all French people?” She asked to then say: “I think France has abandoned him.”
She might have a valid point here. Upon Ghosn’s escape to Lebanon, France’s Secretary of State Agnès Pannier-Runacher said that Ghosn “is not above the laws” and that “no one should be exonerated” from the laws.
Just last week, on Jan 2, Pannier-Runacher stated, “If Mr. Ghosn came to France, we will not extradite Mr. Ghosn, because France never extradites its nationals; so, we apply to Mr. Ghosn as to Mr. Everyone the same rules of the game, but that does not prevent us from thinking that Mr. Ghosn does not have to evade Japanese justice.”
Le Pen had other questions to put forward during her recent interview; questions which answers remain unknown: “He chose to flee to Lebanon. Why did he not choose to join France, since he is a French citizen, where he could have been tried, where he could have demonstrated, as he says, his innocence? ”
Yes, we do wonder that. Has Ghosn come to realize, through these long months of hardships, that he cannot count on France now that he is no longer the head of the global automotive alliance?
Has he painfully understood that France’s economic interests with Japan could be at stake if it interferes with the “justice used to support economic interests” in that country?