Former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn said in an interview in Beirut that he intentionally timed his escape from Japan to coincide with year-end holidays in late December, Spanish daily El Pais reported Friday.

Asked why he chose to flee to Lebanon during that period, Ghosn said it was the right timing as people become more relaxed around the holidays and many go on ski trips or other vacations, the paper said.

The former auto tycoon said he had been surprised by his arrest in Japan in November 2018, but managed to pay back the surprise by escaping the country, the daily added.

Ghosn was arrested in 2018 for alleged financial misconduct while in charge of the Japanese automaker. Facing trial, he fled from Japan by jumping bail and said he did so to escape the country's "rigged" justice system.

Ghosn holds Brazilian, French and Lebanese nationality.