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Carole Ghosn: "I am a housewife, not an accomplice woman"

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Legend of the mediaCarole Ghosn seeks President Trump's support for her husband's legal battle

Carole Ghosn knew that her fight was going to spoil when stories involved her in financial crimes allegedly committed by her husband Carlos.

She claimed that I was painted as a leader. "I am a housewife who raised three children and it makes me look like this accomplice woman," said Ghosn, 52, a Beirut-born woman.

Carlos Ghosn was once a titan of the corporate world, but he is now being held in Japan pending his trial for misconduct while he was running the Nissan Auto Company.

Earlier this year, she was interrogated – but never charged – during an in camera hearing in a Tokyo court on what she knew. But the real motive, she thinks, was "dragging me into history to weaken Carlos – and shut me up".

The last time she spoke to her husband, the police expelled her from their apartment in Tokyo early in the morning of April.

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Carlos and Carole Ghosn at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival

Mr. Ghosn, arrested for the first time last November, was being re-arrested on new allegations. There was a shock, tears, the kind of chaos you would expect when 20 people wake up at 5:15 pm and ask you to enter your home.

"I think they wanted to intimidate and humiliate us," she told the BBC. She remembers being followed in the apartment, even in the shower room. "This woman even gave me the towel."

Ms. Ghosn is now fighting with a campaign which she hopes she will treat her husband with Japanese President Shinzo Abe at a G20 summit of world leaders in Tokyo this month.

Increasingly worried about the health of the 65-year-old woman and angered to forbid her to see him, Ms. Ghosn expresses herself.

Fall in disgrace

"The lawyers have said that everything I could say could hurt him at trial, so do not shut your mouth, but I want my husband to come back, I want him with me. is innocent. " Not for the first time during the interview, she is on the verge of tears.

His guilt, however, will be decided by a court and not by the protests of Ms. Ghosn. And despite asserting the innocence of her husband, Ms. Ghosn states that she can not handle the charges in detail because of legal advice.

The fall of Carlos Ghosn was spectacular. He was arrested last year aboard his private jet at the Tokyo airport because of his claims that he would have under-reported his compensation and benefits acquired at Nissan.

The Franco-Brazilian businessman has led the recovery of Nissan since the near bankruptcy in a country known for its insularity. He then orchestrated an alliance with Renault and Mitsubishi.

His success earned him the ear of presidents and prime ministers – and even a series of cartoons of Japanese manga superheroes. Suddenly, the couple's famous life was in shambles.

Ghosn was planning a takeover of Nissan by Renault, fierce resistance from elements in Japan. That's the real reason why Nissan acted against him, she said. "It was a plot to get rid of it."

And that is why she is categorical: he will not benefit from a fair trial.

Nissan firmly rejects the conspiracy claim. "The bad conduct of Carlos Ghosn is the only cause of this aftermath of events," the company told the BBC. "Nissan's internal investigation has uncovered substantial evidence of unethical behavior. New discoveries related to Ghosn misconduct continue to emerge."

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The couple faces the cameras in front of their house in Tokyo

For 108 days in detention, Ms. Ghosn said that her husband was placed in solitary confinement in a cell without heating during the winter, fed on meager rations and interrogated for hours without a lawyer, sometimes at night.

When he was released on bail, "he looked yellow," she says. "I thought he had jaundice because he did not see the sunlight." He was thin and mentally exhausted.

But other allegations are emerging: funds were diverted from Nissan for personal gain and used for a private party at the Palace of Versailles after their wedding in 2016. Questions were asked about Ms. Ghosn's ties with a company registered in the Virgin Islands, called Yachts de beauté.

At first, Renault strongly supported Mr Ghosn, but then accused him of "dubious and covert practices".

During the April raid and the new arrest, prosecutors seized Ms. Ghosn's Lebanese passport but did not find her. She flew to France, where she solicited the help of Emmanuel Macron, then to America, where she asked Donald Trump to intervene.

The two administrations said they "do everything in their power," said Ghosn, who will also ask Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to defend his case.

"Inhuman and cruel"

But are not the Ghosns simply a rich and privileged couple looking for special treatment? Win the sympathy of the public must be difficult? "We suffer, we suffer, and whether you are rich or poor, you should have the basic rights of man."

She says that people are really shocked to learn the treatment of her husband and that it is unlikely that her trial will begin before next year. Although he is now on bail, he has to live in a court-appointed residence under strict conditions and is monitored by cameras 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He can not leave Japan.

Ms. Ghosn said, "As ugly as the situation is, there were people I did not know who came to help.The support of strangers is one of the things that has hurt me the most. "

She hopes her campaign will at least shed light on what is known as "hostage justice" in Japan – long detention and arduous conditions designed to force confessions.

Human Rights Watch, New York-based human rights group, said the hostages' justice "violates international human rights standards, including the presumption of innocence ". Ms. Ghosn is more direct: "It's inhuman and cruel."

She has filed two petitions with the United Nations for violation of human rights and enjoys the support of Japanese reform lawyers.

Life is hard and lonely, she says. "I'm worried, worried, it's tragic what happened." But she does not have the intention to back down. "When you know something is unfair, you get angry and you want to fight more."

The BBC approached the Japanese Embassy in Washington for comments.

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