* Japan has asked Lebanon for cooperation
* Ghosn says he has evidence of government-backed “coup” -Fox
* Japanese official vows to do utmost to return Ghosn (Recasts, adds comments, detail)
TOKYO, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Tokyo prosecutors on Tuesday issued an arrest warrant for Carlos Ghosn’s wife Carole for allegedly lying in testimony, as officials sought ways to bring the fugitive car industry boss back for trial on financial misconduct charges.
The perjury arrest warrant accuses Carole Ghosn of falsely claiming not to know, or to have met, people connected to a company that received payments from Nissan Motor, part of which it subsequently transferred to a firm owned by Ghosn.
Separately, a senior Ministry of Justice official said staff were poring over Lebanese laws to find a way to return Ghosn and that Japan “will do whatever it can” to have him face trial.
The former Nissan and Renault SA chairman is scheduled to hold a news conference on Wednesday, his first such appearance since his arrest in November 2018 and his dramatic flight last month to Lebanon, his childhood home..
“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,” a spokeswoman for Ghosn told Reuters in Beirut.
Ghosn is expected to detail some of the claims he has made against Nissan since his arrest.
Citing an interview with Ghosn, Fox Business reported that he said he has “actual evidence” and documents to show there was a Japanese government-backed coup to “take him out”. He plans to identify those he believes responsible, the broadcaster said.
In earlier court filings seen by Reuters and statements released by his lawyers in Japan, Ghosn has claimed that he was unseated to destroy any possibility of a merger between Nissan and Renault, accusing Nissan executives of colluding with Japanese prosecutors and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry officials.
Ghosn’s legal team in Japan also said prosecutors withheld evidence, citing concerns voiced by Nissan that it included sensitive information about operations and employees.
Nissan said Ghosn’s flight from Japan would not affect its policy of holding him responsible for “serious misconduct”.
“The company will continue to take appropriate legal action to hold Ghosn accountable for the harm that his misconduct has caused to Nissan,” the automaker said in a statement.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga, on Tuesday, described Ghosn’s escape to Beirut as “regrettable” and said Tokyo had asked Lebanon for help, although he declined to say what exactly Japan had asked of Lebanon.
“It’s necessary to carefully consider the legal systems of both countries,” he told a news conference,
Lebanon does not normally extradite its citizens.
Reporting by Tim Kelly, Makiko Yamazaki, Chang-Ran Kim, Chris Gallagher, David Dolan, Junko Fujita and Sam Nussey in Tokyo, Additional reporting by Samia Nakhoul in Beirut; Editing by Shri Navaratnam, Christopher Cushing and Giles Elgood
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