Mr Carlos Ghosn is the Brazilian born former-CEO of Nissan and former chairman and CEO of the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance. An Interpol Red Notice has now been issued against this highly successful businessman. One has also been issued against his wife, Mrs Carole Ghosn. The notice has been issued to extradition for him being ordered from Lebanon to Japan. Mr Ghosn holds a Brazilian passport and French and Lebanese nationality.

Background to Mr Carlos Ghosn’s Case

Mr Carlos Ghosn has had a very successful business career and played huge roles in helping to turn both Renault and Nissan around. Ghosn’s direct approach of focusing on the bottom line ensured that the companies returned to profitability. He earned respect for this approach with the Asian edition of Forbes Magazine naming him their Person of the Year in 2006. In 2018, however, Mr Ghosn was placed under arrest in Japan on suspicion of violating stock exchange regulations. He has been awaiting trial since, with it forecast to take place in April 2021. During this time, Carlos Ghosn spent around 120 days in pre-trial detainment. After his conditional release, he was placed under house arrest and could not leave the country.

However, at the end of December 2019, Carlos Ghosn left Japan and fled to Lebanon. There is some controversy about how he left as his passports were reportedly handed over to the authorities by his lawyers. Mr Ghosn has strong links to Lebanon, as he holds Lebanese citizenship, and his wife Carole Ghosn was also born there. He has also invested in the country. An Interpol Red Notice has been placed on Mr Ghosn to alert global police forces that he is sought for prosecution. Lebanon is a member of Interpol, but it does not have an extradition treaty with Japan, so it is unlikely that they will extradite him to Japan. Lebanese authorities have been pressing for the trial to take place in Lebanon.


Interpol stands for the International Criminal Police Organisation and is an intergovernmental body that accounts for police forces in over 194 countries. It aims to improve and intensify international cooperation between the various national police authorities to support federal law enforcement in times of globalisation and the internationalisation of crime. For this purpose, Interpol provides a global communication system with databases and information for the member states. After a county submits a search and extradition request to Interpol, the other member countries are informed after Interpol has examined and approved the request.

If you have a particular issue or legal question concerning German Extradition Law, you can contact our law office anytime. Our lawyers for German Extradition Law can be reached by phone, email and also provide video conferencing options. For more legal information, please visit our Extradition Law Homepage.

Interpol Red Notice and What This Means for Mr Ghosn

An Interpol Red Notice enables an Interpol member state to enter a request for a person’s location and provisional arrest into national databases for subsequent extradition. Therefore, the Red Notice starts a search in different countries to initiate subsequent extradition proceedings. In the case of Carlos Ghosn, the aim would be for Lebanon to arrest him on behalf of Japan before extraditing him to Japan to face trial. However, this Red Notice does not equate to an international arrest warrant, and therefore Interpol cannot compel the country (in this case Lebanon) to arrest the individual. Instead, it is up to the member state to decide what legal value it attaches to the Red Notice within their borders and whether it complies with the arrest request.

Mr Ghosn is now at risk of being extradited to Japan if he leaves Lebanon. If he goes to a country with an extradition agreement with Japan, he would be transferred to Japan to await trial. Furthermore, if Lebanon and Japan were to conclude such an extradition agreement in the future, it would cause difficulties for Mr Ghosn. Theoretically, Mr Ghosn could apply to have a Red Notice deleted, but this is a risky undertaking in such a high-profile case. A stalemate seems to be emerging in which Japan would like to have Mr Ghosn extradited and detained again. At the same time, the Lebanese authorities would prefer that he (as a Lebanese citizen) be tried in Lebanon.

Interpol Red Notice Against Mrs Carole Ghosn

To pressure Carlos Ghosn, the Japanese authorities have tried to issue an Interpol Red Notice against his wife, Mrs Carole Ghosn. Mr Ghosn has claimed that his wife had no part in his escape and that he planned and carried it out himself. However, the Japanese authorities want to question Mrs Ghosn’s allegation of providing false testimony in April. They also believe that she aided her husband in his alleged criminal activity. Should the Red Notice come into play for Mrs Ghosn, she too will be limited in her ability to leave Lebanon.

Extradition Law in Germany

The applicable law in extradition cases is primarily determined by whether a bilateral treaty in the form of an extradition treaty has been concluded between the requesting state and the requested state. If such an agreement exists, it takes precedence over the general provision of the Law on International Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (IRG), which otherwise applies. Germany maintains various bilateral agreements with the United States of America or Canada.

You can find more information on our page on extradition law. However, for specific questions and concrete legal advice, it is more advisable to contact our expert extradition team directly. In the following, we will nevertheless present some general regulations and procedural rules that must be observed in the context of extradition.

First of all, by Section 74 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO), the federal Office of Justice has to decide whether an extradition request received is lawful. In doing so, it examines formal requirements and whether there are reasons that prevent extradition (obstacles to extradition). If it finds no such grounds, it is likely that the request will be executed; for example, the wanted person will be transferred to the state. However, suppose there are well-founded indications of a violation, for instance, of the IRG, the Basic Law of European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). In that case, this may result in the illegality or inadmissibility of the extradition. Under Section 13 IRG, the Higher Regional Court has to decide on admissibility in this respect. Extradition is prohibited, among other things, if:

  • It cannot be expected that the accused will receive a fair trial (Art. 6 ECHR),
  • The proceedings are exclusively politically motivated (Art. 6 IRG), or
  • The offence in question is punishable by death in the requesting state, and there is no guarantee that the death penalty will not be imposed or carried out (Art. 8 IRG).

These are only a few examples that can lead to the inadmissibility of requested extradition. Don’t hesitate to contact us by telephone, e-mail or use our online contact form for further information and specific expert advice. Our specialist will be happy to advise and support you in all matters relating to extradition law.

Extradition Lawyers at Schlun & Elseven

At Schlun & Elseven, our lawyers are well-versed in extradition law. We have successfully represented numerous clients in this field in Germany and worldwide and have thus built a wealth of experience. The willingness of our lawyers to travel, thus enabling personal meetings with clients abroad, as well as our close worldwide contacts with extradition partners, ensure excellent and comprehensive representation. Our law firm is multi-disciplined and multilingual, providing all our services in English and German. Preventing communication problems is the first step to successful extradition representation.

For more information about our firm and our experience, visit our website. If you wish to contact our lawyers directly, you will find our contact details below this article. Our main offices are located in Cologne, Aachen and Düsseldorf, but we also provide meeting facilities in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Stuttgart and Frankfurt. Please get in touch with us if you require more specialised assistance.