Former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn has travelled to Lebanon after fleeing Japan, where he faces a trial over allegations of financial misconduct.
In a statement, Ghosn said he had not fled justice but “escaped injustice and political persecution”.
His lawyer said he was “dumbfounded” by the news and that he had not recently spoken with his client.
It is unclear how the former chief executive officer managed to leave, as he was barred from travelling abroad.
Ghosn, who has an estimated net worth of $120m (£91m), was one of the most powerful figures in the global car industry until his arrest in November 2018. He denies any wrongdoing.
His case has attracted global attention and his months-long detention led to increased scrutiny of Japan’s justice system.
The 65-year-old was born in Brazil to parents of Lebanese descent and was raised in Beirut, before travelling to France for further education. He holds French, Brazilian and Lebanese passports.
But his lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka, told reporters in Tokyo on Tuesday that Ghosn’s legal team was still in possession of his passports.
“I don’t even know if we can contact him. I don’t know how we will proceed beyond that,” he said. Lebanon has no extradition agreement with Japan.
Ghosn was released on $9m bail in April under strict conditions that barred him from travelling abroad.