Carlos Ghosn, speaking publicly for the first time since his dramatic escape from Japanese justice, said on Wednesday he had been treated "brutally" by Tokyo prosecutors and was the victim of an inside job to oust him from the helm of automaker Nissan.

The one-time titan of the car industry said in a two-hour news conference in Beirut that he had no choice but to flee. The alternative was to spend the rest of his life languishing in Japan without a fair trial.

Ghosn, 65, fled Japan last month as he was awaiting trial on charges of under-reporting earnings, breach of trust and misappropriation of company funds, all of which he denies.