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Ghosn in first public appearance in Lebanon in months

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(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 12, 2018 French Renault group CEO and chairman of Japan’s Nissan Motor CO. Ltd and Mitsubishi Motors Corp, Carlos Ghosn poses during a photo session at the Renault headquarters in Boulogne-Billancourt. – Renault boss Carlos Ghosn has handed in his resignation, France’s economy minister said on January 24, 2019 ahead of a board meeting at which the French car maker is to appoint his successor. (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP)

Fugitive auto tycoon Carlos Ghosn made his first public appearance in months Tuesday to launch a business programme at a Lebanese university.

The ex-Nissan chief was arrested in Japan in November 2018 on financial misconduct charges and spent 130 days in detention, before he dramatically jumped bail and smuggled himself out of the country late last year.

The 66-year-old businessman for the first time appeared in public in Lebanon in January, claiming he was a victim of a plot by Nissan and Japanese officials.

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On Tuesday, he held a press conference to launch new business courses at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK), north of Beirut.

But he refused to answer any questions about allegations against him, or his former business partner Greg Kelly who pleaded not guilty on September 15 as his trial opened in Japan.

“I am not going to deviate this conference from its centre and the centre is USEK,” said the tanned Brazilian-born businessman, who also holds French and Lebanese nationalities.

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Instead he spoke of a new executive management programme, as well as two other entrepreneurship and information technology courses, which he said aimed at “serving the country”.

An organiser said students would receive one consultancy session with Ghosn, and a certificate at the end of their studies signed by him.

Lebanon is mired in its worst economic crisis in decades, and still reeling from a monster blast at the capital’s port that killed more than 190 people and ravaged large parts of Beirut.

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