By on December 30, 2019

Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn’s flight from Japan, where we was awaiting trial on charges of underreporting income and breach of trust, has been confirmed by none other than the man himself.

Late Monday, Ghosn issued a message from Lebanon.

CNBC reported the message, delivered from a country where Ghosn spent much of his childhood. The ousted auto exec retains Lebanese citizenship.

Ghosn and his wife have repeatedly condemned his treatment at the hands of Japanese authorities. Before his release on bail and subsequent house arrest in Tokyo, Ghosn was held in an austere detention facility where officials seemed to take delight in noting the lack of special privileges afforded to their celebrity guest.

As new charges rolled in — allegations that Ghosn vigorously denies — his time in jail lengthened. It remains to be seen how Ghosn removed himself from a country, sans passport,  where authorities monitored his every move. The former executive was forbidden from leaving the country, using the internet, or speaking with a number of people without court approval, per his bail agreement.

[Image: Nissan]

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122 Comments on “Ghosn Update: A Message From Carlos...”


  • avatar
    Lokki

    The Japanese naively expected him to be a gentleman and keep his word of honor…

    • 0 avatar

      You must have missed the first 3-4 months of Ghosn being held in jail with no apparent end in sight. Unable to meet or interact with his wife for months for fear he would direct her to hide money, which I’m pretty much sure would have happened had they let them interact.

      The Japanese were very aware that Ghosn is untrustworthy and would try and flee if he could, no naivety. They were dozy enough to let him get on a plane.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      I would spell it “honour” to give it a little added zing in this international context. Just my preference.

    • 0 avatar
      dantes_inferno

      “He’s got the money, hey
      You know he got away
      He headed down south and he’s still running today
      Singin’ go on take the money and run
      Go on take the money and run
      Go on take the money and run
      Go on take the money and run
      Go on take the money and run
      Go on take the money and run
      Go on take the money and run
      Go on take the money and run”

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Nicely done! And it’s good for a song, maybe. Not a telenovela. He didn’t even shoot a man or rob a castle.

        But do they have Japanese bounty hunters? Now that would be a series.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    I believe this guy pushed a lot of better cars out of the market by selling cheap CHEAP commerce that made it unprofitable for others

    he pursued a relentless market share strategy that thoroughly debased what Nissan was

    I doubt Nissan will ever recover in this country from what he did

    • 0 avatar
      3800FAN

      Look at late 90s nissan before carlos took over and youll have some sympathy. Compare the 98 altima to the 02 altima. He literally saved the company simply by pushing designs people wanted. 02 altima, rouge, etc. His mistake was relentlessly pushing markershare and cheapening the brand with discounts and fleet sales later on.

    • 0 avatar
      Eaststand

      you dont deserve to go to jail for a unwise business strategy though

  • avatar
    jmo2

    Vigorous denial or not at this point pretty much everyone agrees he stole* the money, right?

    * The money belongs to the shareholders. Based on a recommendation from the compensation committee the board decides how much of the shareholders’ money will be paid to the CEO in exchange for his services. If the CEO receives more money than the board authorized that’s stealing.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      He should have just packed the board with fellow plundering thieves trying to end capitalism, the way it is done in corporate America.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        Those plundering thieves will argue to the end of the earth that they are the epitome of capitalism and that if you don’t like it you’re just a lazy bum who should stop whining and work harder. What’s nuts to me is that the same working Joe they say that to, will turn around and say the same thing to the poor SOB under him, instead of realizing they have a common enemy.

        • 0 avatar

          Keeping people divided and against one another (at least where wealth is concerned) is important for capitalism.

          • 0 avatar

            “Keeping people divided and against one another (at least where wealth is concerned) is important for capitalism.”

            And Putin understands that. That’s why RT encourages Americans to be at each other’s throats over petty political issues. It’s not that difficult to accomplish that though even without RT – just watch mainstream media like CNN. That’s why I stopped watching TV many years ago.

          • 0 avatar
            tomLU86

            Putin? Are you serious?

            First, this is a car site. So Ghosn qualifies (car industry).

            Second, while Putin is not Mother Theresa, he’s playing his relatively modest hand quite well.

            How would, or perhaps will, the US feel if/when one day China decides to meddle in Canadian politics and engineers a coup overthrowing the elected government, and then starts selling, no GIVING, weapons the Canadians meant to shoot down US aircraft.

            After all, who is to say Trudeau is legit? Just as many Canadians voted Conservative as they did Liberal, yet the Liberals rule….

            US arrogance, much like the arrogance of “le cost-cutter” Ghosn, is the root cause for many of America’s ‘problems’ with Putin.

            The US official who engineered our policies vis-à-vis Russia (driving them close to China) should be sharing the same cell with Ghosn.

            So let’s stick to cars and auto execs.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          The common enemy is the zero-sum-game Marxism that has turned our best universities into indoctrination centers.

          • 0 avatar
            HotPotato

            You don’t learn, do you.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Yep, when I think of what Karl Marx wanted, the first thing that comes to mind is fabulously wealthy plutocrats stealing even more money.

            How do you even get to a place where your thought is so backward?

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            How brainwashed do you have to be to get upset when someone criticizes a poison that has killed over a hundred million people?

          • 0 avatar
            jmo2

            Todd,

            You support employees stealing from their employees? I’m not sure I understand why you’re siding with Carlos.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo2

            Employees stealing from their employers I mean.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            I’m not siding with Carlos Ghosn. I’m siding with small stakeholders and employees who saw returns and kept their jobs under Carlos. Isn’t that better than being at the mercy of Mary Barra, who serves an agenda while costing jobs and retirement savings as her corrupt board of fellow travelers pays her more than Carlos is accused of stealing?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I didn’t say anything about whether I support Marxism or not (and, for the record, “supporting Marxism” is so vague as to be meaningless).

            What I did say is that blaming plutocratic theft on Marxism is completely absurd. Capitalism without ethics is what results in people like Ghosn. Freedom requires ethics, and many of our business leaders no longer have any.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo2

            “ I’m siding with small stakeholders and employees who saw returns and kept their jobs under Carlos.”

            So that makes it ok for Carlos to steal from his employer? Got it….

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Have you ever owned or run a business? You’re better off with a manager who abuses his expense account than one who makes decisions that damage your business. I don’t know that he was a thief. You don’t know either. I do know that he made money for his employers and his employees. That’s better than Mary Barra can claim, and she still was paid more than Carlos is ACCUSED of taking. Some productive people and all unproductive people need supervision. The feigned righteous indignation of puppets ignoring the hands up their colons is pathetic.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “You’re better off with a manager who abuses his expense account than one who makes decisions that damage your business.”

            Not in my business. If somebody stole money from my business, especially but not only client trust money, I could be disbarred.

          • 0 avatar
            Eaststand

            Amen to that. A lot of people who have never done a hard days work in their life spouting nonsense

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            You know, Bernie Ebbers, Ken Lay, and that Tyco guy worked like absolute dogs. Too bad a considerable percentage of their work time was spent cooking the books, and defrauding the people who invested in their companies…right?

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            You stink at straw man.

          • 0 avatar
            tomLU86

            Todd Atlas vs Dal20402… very interesting dilemma.

            In principle, Dal has a laudable point—stealing will not be tolerated.

            In practice, if it was YOUR money; say you bought a small business, say an auto repair business or a restaurant in a small town, solely to ‘own’ the profits.

            Over time, the profits coming to you are even better than expected.

            Customers–they are very happy, there is ALWAYS a wait. No complaints about poor service, or high price.

            Life is good–the business manager is doing a great job.

            So great, you start poking around–you find out he runs things in such a way that employees AND customers and suppliers are HAPPY and you are making more money, and..oh, by the way, manager is skimming money.

            So do you fire him?

            In real life, I venture to say, most people with life experience will look the other way, and as long as everyone remains happy and the money keeps flowing in, let it go.

            And if/when this changes, then can the manager (the biggest change being, when the profits accruing to the owner decline…)

            In Ghosn’s case, I sense he kind of did that. In the short run, ‘cutting costs’ and hollowing out the company can generate good results. But in the long run, it catches up with the company in the marketplace.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    Guilty or not I think the Japanese justice system should also be in trial.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      Agreed. While I personally think he is guilty and his business strategy did irreversible harm to the Nissan brand his jailing and the conditions of his bail are ridiculous. You’d think he was some diabolical mass murderer or something.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        All justice systems with more pages of arcane, rather arbitrary, “laws” than the average voting citizen can relatively easily wrap their heads around, should be on trial, found guilty, and be banned…..

        Where the Japanese differ from most, as hinted at in the article, is in their relative refusal to grant special privilege to people. Even people who, on account of their public persona, in most other countries are treated better than the average vagrant.

        Since the, in absolute terms, “size” of crimes someone is able to commit, does tend to rise with their wealth, power and influence: Compared to most other places, this does make it look as if the wealthy and powerful is being singled out to be treated unfairly harshly. But if you look at it more closely, it’s not as if the average Japanese burglar or whatever accused of stealing similar sums of money, is getting treated any better. Rather the opposite. Just less oppositely so, than in countries with more of a tradition of being starstruck by fame and fortune.

        • 0 avatar
          whynot

          You are being naive if you think the Japanese justice system does not give special privileges to people. If Carlos Ghosn was a Japanese national he would not have been given this treatment. Japanese officials have embezzled, Japanese officials and companies have lied and falsified data that have killed people or could have killed people (eg Takata air bags, Koito aircraft seating) and they were not placed under strict house arrest with internet and family restrictions.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            All systems give special privileges. Japan’s is less systematically set up to grant privileges on account of wealth and power than most others. While still not treated the same, burglars and embezzling executives are treated less fundamentally different there, than say, in the US. Compared to the average LA Crip accused of wrongfully obtaining similar amounts of money, Ghosn’s treatment is hardly all that bad… Yet, compared to Bernie Madoff, part of his ride may have been a bit rough.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        Saying he did irreversible harm to Nissan is demonstrating ignorance of the fact they were teetering on bankruptcy when he took over. I’ll admit that I had little admiration for the cars they built before he got there and little admiration for the cars they built while he was there, but at least he made money and kept factories humming.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        The Japanese legal system may be ridiculous to us, but clearly it isn’t to them. Other countries work differently, for better or worse.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          Sharia Law worked fine in Afghanistan with the Taliban in charge too. Just because it “works for them” does not make it right and no, I’m not saying our own system is without flaw so save your “but what about…” Posts. Just saying guilty or not, I get why he got the heck out of Dodge.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            You’re not wrong, Art, but did you really just compare the Japanese legal system to Sharia law because it doesn’t live up to our Sixth Amendment? That’s a bit hyperbolic, don’t you think?

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            @FreedMike, indeed…it is pure hyperbole. I thought that’s what you did on the internet.

            Still, I will disagree with your premise that should Carlos find himself ensnared in our criminal justice system that it is the Sixth Amendment that would protect him. We run over our bill of rights regularly in those respects. Carlos would be fine in our system however because he is:

            1. Not African American (Though his middle eastern descent would be a knock against him in many court rooms) and

            2. Rich. This one would override the first one as proven circa 1995.

            Otherwise we’d just lock him up and nobody would care. Incidentally were he a pretty white girl he could have embezzled the money AND killed his child with little fear of the court messing with him.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      The Japanese justice system works fine for the Japanese and perhaps should not be compared with other systems of justice outside that country. As for the subject of this article, Ghosn forgot that he was gaiijin and not Japanese.

      • 0 avatar
        Noble713

        Just wondering if you guys accept the Iranian legal system, where they throw homosexuals off of rooftops and stone adulterous women to death, to the same low standard as the Japanese justice system? I mean, if it works for the locals it’s all Khosher, right?

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          That’s what multi-culturalism is all about, except when the mask slips and it’s really about destroying Christianity and the pesky rights of the individual.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          No, but the flaw in your argument is that the failure of the Japanese justice system to live up to our Sixth Amendment is somehow morally comparable to the kind of blatantly inhumane things they do in Iran. They’re not comparable – period.

          Then again, I’m sure the Japanese look down their noses at the kinds of things that happen in our system.

          Unfortunately, this is how it works.

        • 0 avatar
          bullnuke

          Noble713 – Iran deserves the legal system it has much as does Japan deserve its system. Conduct of business in ways folks in the US considers inappropriate/hateful/evil/et al occurs in many countries and is not limited to the two I’ve mentioned above. Western eyes see the Iranian examples you listed as terrible and rightly so. Judging the established cultural/political/theological/legal/et al norms of other countries through American-eyes and “doing something” to correct what is seen to conform to “American norms”, however, has not and will not work (the ghosts of 58,220 testify to this). When the systems of these countries bleed across their national boundaries and affect my country I’ll become very concerned. Some of the theological excesses of the legal/political systems of Southwest Asia imported to the US by immigrants/refugees/students/visitors/et al are already causing problems here and that concerns me – the events of 9/11/2001 are an example that required US action – and that’s on my turf and my problem. Inside their borders is pretty much their problem as well as the problem of folks from other countries traveling/visiting/living inside those borders – their turf. Unsurprisingly, most of the Western World is likewise seen by many other countries as inappropriate/hateful/evil/et al and these countries would like to “do something” if they were able.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Well put.

            You can’t compare Japanese law to Sharia law because their system doesn’t have an equivalent to the Sixth Amendment. I can live with that and call Japan a friend.

            It’s harder and more complicated to call Saudi Arabia a friend when it treats its’ citizens like it does. But as you say, unless we’re willing to start an Operation Iraqi Freedom sequel, there ain’t much we can do but be thankful we have the system we have, and hope more countries follow the example.

        • 0 avatar
          tomLU86

          ….more politics.

          I think Saudi Arabia is a much more appropriate example than Iran.

          In Iran women drive, people vote.

          Saudi Arabia is much more intolerant and represseive, yet the “Iran” is the example of bad.

          Very sad to see….

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Their cultural priorities are different than ours. It’s hard to overlay one over the other and expect or hope for compliance.

      Change occurs over long periods of time or it comes at the end of a gun. I prefer time. And gentle pressure, applied relentlessly.

  • avatar
    Guy A

    He is now a fugitive unable to travel to many countries of the world. He wanted special treatment and got none. As others have said he was most likely guilty and his business career is over.
    We haven’t heard the last of this, the Japanese can be very dogged.

    I wonder what criminal group he worked with to spring him, or maybe I have watched too much Blacklist!

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      He may have been “allowed” to escape. The Japanese have been subjected to too much scrutiny already, and a trial would have been a distraction from Nissan and its effort to free itself from its alliance with Renault. Now the Japanese can wrap up the case and turn to extricating Nissan from the alliance, and reorganizing it as a Japanese-run company. That was the whole idea behind neutralizing Ghosn, wasn’t it?

  • avatar
    analogman

    Good for him. He NEVER would have gotten a fair trial in Japan. What is “honorable” behavior when your captors are not treating you anything remotely resembling ‘honorably’?

    The inconvenient truth is that no gaijin can get a fair trial in the Japan. Japan prides itself on a low crime rate, but that’s in large part because the legal system treats people so harshly and the penalties are so severe. The system is especially unfair to non-Japanese (gaijin), who are seen as ‘inferior’ by and to Japanese people and not accorded even the same harsh treatment as native Japanese.

    As has been posted here before, there is stark evidence of how the Japanese have treated non-Japanese:

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/japanese-troops-ate-flesh-of-enemies-and-civilians-1539816.html

    I certainly don’t know Ghosn, and suspect he might not be the nicest of people. Anyone who claws their way up to being CEO of major multi-national corporations usually isn’t going to win any congeniality awards. With anyone in that position, put them under a magnifying glass long and hard enough, and you can probably conjure up some kind of questionable behavior.

    But that doesn’t change the fact that this was a hack job. The Japanese people take great pride in themselves, and look down their noses at gaijin. I’m sure he ruffled a lot of feathers at Nissan and caused great embarrassment to Japan, being a gaijin in charge of one of their major corporations. The last straw was his plan to more fully integrate Renault and Nissan, which would have further reduced Nissan’s power and (real or perceived) ‘status’ in the relationship. That was too much for the Japanese, and I think they whacked him with trumped-up charges.

    It’s also possible the Japanese authorities looked the other way and let him flee. In the Japanese legal system, the accused is often held indefinitely and browbeaten into confessing under conditions that many western countries would consider torture. They achieve the 99% conviction rate they are so proud of usually because the accused ultimately confesses or plea bargains. If an accused continues to plead innocence, they are sometimes eventually let go, to save the Japanese legal system (judges, lawyers, etc.) the ‘dishonor’ of going through with a trial. I suspect the evidence they had on Ghosn was probably pretty thin, and not a guaranteed outcome even in the lopsided Japanese system.

    I’m no Ghosn apologist, but for all of his supposedly heinous misdeeds, the Japanese regulators fined Nissan a total of $22 million – which seems like a pittance (0.1%) compared to their annual revenues of $22 billion.

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/12/10/business/corporate-business/japan-regulator-recommends-2-4-billion-ghosn-fine/

    The lesson is, if you’re not Japanese, be very careful what you do in Japan.

    • 0 avatar
      Lokki

      You mean like “don’t embezzle from a Japanese corporation“? Be careful like that?

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Sounds about right.

      • 0 avatar
        analogman

        I have no idea what Ghosn did or didn’t do. My understanding is that he was accused of under-reporting his income, which while wrong, isn’t the same as ’embezzlement’ and actually taking money from the company. If he did this, it seems the allegedly ‘harmed’ party would be the Japanese tax authorities, not Nissan.

        What I believe (along with most of the other Americans I’ve known who have done business in Japan) is that Japan is one of the most corrupt countries on Earth. I’ve been there over 50 times and have lived there and seen it for myself. You cannot imagine the corruption that goes on there, at all levels. What Ghosn supposedly did wouldn’t even be mentioned of a Japanese executive, it would be seen as too small and ‘normal’. Things that would be considered outrageous or illegal here are commonplace and widely accepted there. It’s just more accepted for Japanese than for gaijin.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          ^^^This^^^

          An old friend of mine worked for an aerospace company that did business with Japan. He said that companies wishing to sell there have to basically pad their sales quotes to include payola.

          • 0 avatar
            HotPotato

            I used to work for an international corporation. In Western countries we had offices. In Asian countries we had local “agents” because we could pay them “fees and commissions” — and pretend we were unaware those translated directly into bribes needed to sell our stuff.

            The downside of any value system centered on a) looking out only for your own family and b) reflexively deferring to authority, is corruption and injustice.

            Picture this. You’re in a restaurant in China. An old man dining alone starts choking to death. Everyone else just sits on their ass and carries on: not their relative, not their problem. You get up, Heimlich the poor SOB, and everyone looks confused: the westerner can’t be related to the old Chinese guy, why did he help him? A few experiences like that can beat the cultural relativism out of even the most open-minded fella.

        • 0 avatar
          jmo2

          “ My understanding is that he was accused of under-reporting his income,”

          He under-reported his income to the shareholders who are the owners of the company. That’s embezzlement. He stole their money.

      • 0 avatar
        Eaststand

        Unless you’re Japanese, then its cool.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      It’s pretty clear that he did ALL of the following: (1) embezzled money from Nissan and Renault: (2) cooked the books to hide that from both shareholders and regulators; and (3) failed to pay taxes on the embezzled money in multiple countries. He should be in jail.

      But you can be guilty and still not receive an appropriate process. I don’t know enough about the Japanese criminal justice system to know whether the authorities followed local law or not. If they didn’t, is skipping bail justified? That’s a hard question.

      If he never sees any consequences for his actions in any country, though, that is also a miscarriage of justice.

  • avatar
    redgolf

    “He is now a fugitive unable to travel to many countries of the world.”
    Why would he have to travel anywhere, with his millions he could stay in a well guarded undisclosed compound hidden from the publics eye like most drug lords and other corrupt government officials!

    • 0 avatar
      Guy A

      Yeah I am sure the Lebanon is a great place to stay for ever. Never seeing France or Brazil again. Never going to the US or other countries. Money isn’t everything when living in a crap place

  • avatar
    DOHC 106

    As I read about this entire situation, guilty or not, I wonder to myself….all of this could have been prevented if Nissan would have declared bankruptcy on those billions and started fresh. Nissan leadership already did harm to the company by allowing the problem to build up and continue as it did before they were bought out. I had a couple of Nissans before and during that time, neither was impressive even though their cars were better overall 20 to 30 years ago. I like to look at Toyota and Honda. Their quality and innovation far and away exceeds Nissan. Nissans quality ratings are low, sales are lower overall in every major market, weak resale value, and heavy dependence on rebates even though much of the industry uses that sales strategy. Basically there is nothing supremely special about them. Of course, there will be good versions of vehicles despite the manufacturer, but Nissan makes relatively cheap vehicles which reflects that as they age.

  • avatar

    And now we wait to see if Lebanese authorities will comply with an extradition request from Japan. I’m guessing Carlos researched this ahead if time, and knows they won’t.

  • avatar

    Furthermore, if you do not fancy the justice system in a particular country, perhaps you should not do crimes while being employed by a business in said country.

    His Versailles wedding on Nissan company money is the part that always gets me.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      No doubt, except the world is watching how Japan treats its foreign nationals. And that’s fine for Japanese that don’t travel/work/study/etc abroad.

    • 0 avatar
      Garrett

      I missed the part where he was convicted of a crime. Do you have a link to that?

      • 0 avatar

        You’re suggesting criminal activity does not exist unless there is a conviction on record?

        Crime>accusation>conviction

        We’re currently in step 2.

        • 0 avatar
          Eaststand

          Correct. Criminal activity certainly does not exist until proven in a court of law.

          It is alleged crinimal activity until then.

        • 0 avatar
          Garrett

          It also occurs: Crime (or not) > Falsely Accused > ???

          Point is, you have stated that he committed a crime. I doubt you are in possession of all the evidence, both incriminating and exculpatory. I also doubt you have reviewed the relevant legal statutes.

          By your style of reasoning, every single person rotting in a North Korean prison camp is a criminal.

          A criminal justice system is judged by the effort it takes to prevent false convictions and to protect the rights of the accused. Japan fails this test horribly, and its only saving grace is that they don’t include bodily mutilation (such as blinding or amputation) as part of the sentencing.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        He hasn’t yet been convicted (although now he almost certainly will be) but it seems pretty clear just from the public evidence that he stole a lot of money and deceived both his investors and the authorities about it.

        • 0 avatar
          Eaststand

          See, Im not that sure about that, this was clearly a stage managed coup, I doubt the evidence to be honest, its clear he was ousted, and its clear this was an organisedthing with many people involved, and we all know how corrupt Japan is, so is the supposed evidence even real?

          Who knows, but at least hes escaped.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            You don’t stage-manage a boardroom coup in a way that gets the SEC involved. The SEC settled with Nissan over more or less the same conduct involved in the Japanese prosecution.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I had similar thoughts since about the time this happened. We’re never going to get the whole scoop and but its been clear this was an organized action against Ghosn.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            OK, let’s say it was a stage managed coup. Does the fact that Ghosn almost certainly embezzled company money make it easier for the coup to happen?

            There’s only one answer to that question.

            Sorry, Ghosn had no one to blame for his firing but himself.

        • 0 avatar
          SPPPP

          Dal20402, some of his actions sound improper, but it would have been impossible for him to accomplish those things on his own. Yet the other financial higher-ups at Nissan weren’t put in solitary confinement and limited food rations. “Coincidentally”, those other executives are Japanese. So is it really about the money?

  • avatar
    Thomas Kreutzer

    How he got out of Japan will be the most interesting part of this story. He has multiple citizenships so he can also have multiple passports. Even if the Japanese scooped up every one of them, it’s possible that one of his countries was sensitive to his situation and issued him a new, legitmate emergency travel document. If that was the case, the Japanese government is going to be super unhappy.

    But even if he had a valid passport in his real name the Japanese immigration service does exit control, so if he had departed legally some official would have had to stamp him out. A document without a Japanese visa and prior entry/exit stamps would have raised questions for sure. And even if it didn’t, with the Japanese immigration likely alerted that he was a flight risk, what are the odds that the one random official he interacted with would’t recognize him? Pretty slim, I think.

    That would indicate to me that he somehow got around the immigration controls and onto a commercial aircraft, or that he was secreted aboard a private aircraft already cleared to leave the country. No matter how you cut it, it’s a huge conspiracy and it took a lot of people to organize. The Japanese will pull that string for sure and you can bet people are going to pay.

    • 0 avatar

      Thinking of the How He Did It, wouldn’t the easiest way be via a private plane, where there’s less security, a smaller airport, and people can more easily be bought? Small private airports wouldn’t have such strict passport control. Just fly out at night, no passport stamping. Then fly into a similar airport in Lebanon, where buying people off is even easier.

      • 0 avatar
        Thomas Kreutzer

        My thoughts are that any aircraft that has the range to fly as far as Lebanon isn’t going to be able to fly into and out of any sort of small rural airport. Also, that kind of bird coming into to a place where you don’t usually see that sort of thing would attract all kinds of attention. Finally, Japanese officials at those sorts of places don’t have much to do and you can bet they will check into everything. As for buying them off, well most are so well compensated and have such job security that they could never be bought. I don’t see this happening at all.

        Maybe if he went small and then transferred to something bigger in China?

        The other thing I could see happening is him going commercial. Maybe he could evade immigration by coming up the service elevator with the food or something and then going directly into on of those first class suites where he would stay locked and secured until the landed. Emirates, for example, flies from Narita to Turkey direct. In this scenario he would only need his travel doc hen he landed.

        It seems more likely to me that he could bribe someone in the food services, or use organize crime contacts who might already have a system in place for bringing things people in and out of the country in this manner.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          OK, I’m no expert on any of this, but…

          Security is tight at a commercial airport, and I’m sure he’s on Japan’s “no-fly” list. Plus, if you were on the lam, would you walk into an airport full of heavily armed cops? Yeah, that’s a big “no”.

          My bet’s on a small commercial or rural airport – a business jet like a Gulfstream-6 could operate out of one, and there are any number of these planes could fly from Japan to Lebanon nonstop. I just looked up the range of a G-6 – it’s 8,000 miles.

          Pay someone at the airport to look the other way, and off you go.

          • 0 avatar
            redgolf

            Maybe he just took on Mr. beans ID/passport hahahahaha!

            https://www.google.com/search?q=mr+bean+and+carlos+ghosn&oq=mr+bean+and+carlos+ghosn&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l2.21646j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

        • 0 avatar
          tomLU86

          Maybe he went thru the “access of evil”!

          Maybe clever old Carlos flew north to Russia. From there to Iran. From there to Iran’s Lebanese friends brought Carlos to the land of his origins.

          This would reinforce the comments here about Putin and Iran…

          Yes, THEY did it! My crystal ball is getting clearer now….. The Russians and Iran have extricated Carlos their never-ending quest to undermine our way life.

          This plot was hatched decades ago, when they directed Carlos to generate profits, but also to ensure that future Nissans would be ugly and cheap.

          Carlos is “the Manchurian CEO”!

          The nerve of these people!!!!

          I am outraged!!!!

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        He flew out of Kansai International Izumisano, Japan at 11:10 pm JST Sunday on a Bombardier BD-700-1A10 Global 6000. The flight to Istanbul covered 6,027 miles taking 12 hrs 16 minutes.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Exactly, any country can block an individual from getting onto a plane. It’s not all that hard. In this country, private jets leaving the country have to file a manifest and passengers flying internationally have to have passports. I’m sure Japan has similar procedures.

      The question is: how did it happen? I can think of three logical scenarios:

      1) Ghosn hired some kind of armed security force to put him on the plane, past the Japanese authorities, at gunpoint.
      2) Someone got paid off at the airport to look the other way.
      3) Ghosn found someone who was disgruntled with the Japanese system to let him on the plane – a kind of “stick it to The Man” moment.

      We’d have heard about it if it was the first scenario, and the “Fight The Power” thing doesn’t happen in Japan. I’m going with the second option.

      • 0 avatar
        Thomas Kreutzer

        The force your way past Japanese authorities at gunpoint is how you get intercepted and turned around by fighters. There just aint no blasting your way out of this Mos Eisley.

        And it seems equally unlikely that they could find that one disgruntled person who wants to stick it to the man at just the right time.

        No, this was highly organized and they used a proven method. Both Ghosn and his wife out of the house, across town and onto an aircraft right under the watchful eyes of the authorities. The people who did this aren’t amateurs. If this ever gets unraveled it will be like and inside look at a special forces operation.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          Picture Carlos in Sean Connery’s Japanese makeup from ‘You Only Live Twice.’

          There are yachts that can reach Japan. This wasn’t a magic trick. What makes the U.S. border a joke isn’t that one determined person with unlimited resources can cross it.

          • 0 avatar
            Thomas Kreutzer

            Sea is a real possibility. He could have got out on a fishing boat and into Korea or even China. From there he could pick up a passport and then just fly out.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          And maybe this involved faked-up travel documents, which I’m sure a guy with Ghosn’s bank account could afford.

          Somewhere, “McLovin” nods approval.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          The BD-700 had enough range to comfortably make it to Turkey. 7000 miles range for what turned out to be a 6k mile flight.

          The airport that he left from, Kansai International, is on this little island in Osaka Bay. Just pull the plane into a hanger for “maintenance” and load inside.

      • 0 avatar
        Eaststand

        Im going with the Yakuza

  • avatar
    Steve203

    The irony is, when he was released from prison on bail, the prosecutors opposed the release, saying he was a flight risk.

  • avatar
    JMII

    So he went Rogue?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This wins the “surprise” award for the year’s car news. What a great ending to the year!

    I agree with freedmike, some key people were paid off. This will have Japanese officials rending their clothes.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Alternate scenario:

      Japan let him “escape” once they realized they couldn’t convict him. Perhaps Carlos as a fugitive is better than Carlos as an acquitted CEO.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Personally, I’d say the escape looks worse for Japan than dropping the charges.

      • 0 avatar
        Thomas Kreutzer

        Nah. They could always have scored a win by getting him on some other minor charge and then kicking him out of the country.

        Purposefully Letting him “escape” would make the police look like a bunch of hacks. No way they are going to lose face like that.

      • 0 avatar
        jeoff

        That was my thought..
        The “detain him until he confesses” strategy failed. His continued incarceration would look terrible for Japan, and convicting him of *something* while his Japanese replacement underreported his income, and did not go to jail would look even worse
        But, if he “escapes”, he looks guilty. He looks like a stinking rich guy who escaped justice. This was the best out for Japan.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    This is weird: Ghosn apparently was taken away in a private jet–hidden in a box usually used for musical instruments. So he fled via the luggage compartment? https://www.businessinsider.com/carlos-ghosn-fled-japan-in-box-on-private-jet-reports-2019-12

    • 0 avatar
      Thomas Kreutzer

      It’s an interesting idea but it smells like a phony cover story to me.

      • 0 avatar
        Garrett

        Well, it could have happened that way. It’s plausible.

        Or that could indeed be a cover story, since it is plausible, and the extraction could have been handled by people working for another country where he holds citizenship. Not necessarily Lebanon either, although certainly also possible.

  • avatar
    Eaststand

    Hell yeah, really pleased for this news. What happened to him there was really weird, it was obvious they were just throw away the key for no real reason.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Do the Japanese still cut off their pinky finger to atone for doing something embarrassing?

    If so, I would bet their are a lot of 9 fingered fellas in law enforcement right now.

  • avatar

    Epstein is a pilot, didn’t want to leave him hanging?

  • avatar
    vanpressburg

    Yes Carlos,
    Catch me, if you can.
    I heard, Carlos sleeps in Renault/Nissan dealerships, every night in different one.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Let me see.

    Ghosn and right hand man Kelly are called to Tokyo for special meeting, and are arrested upon arrival. The dirt dished out to the media by Nissan’s Saikawa, later found to have had a bit of a stock tip hisself, was all about Ghosn not declaring his real income to tax authorities. Should have followed the Bezos Rule and paid none, getting a refund instead.

    Then, incarcerated for three months without access to his actual lawyer or wife, while Japanese police go on a fishing expedition to chase down his sins. They always discover a new one 22 days after the previous one, as 23 days is the period covering the Japanese version of habeas corpus. Meanwhile, Ghosn becomes familiar with the dozens of varieties of ramen and what it’s like sleeping on a granite floor.

    Ghosn eventually gets bail and house arrest. Kelly already had been granted that. Saikawa takes over Nissan as financial results are released as terrible. Then gets booted himself a couple of months ago. The brand new Prez has just resigned as well. Ghosn escapes Japan, leaving Kelly to face the music.

    Nissan seems to have dug a giant hole for itself from which the new Sentra and its flashing new 2.0l normally aspirated CVT-delivered performance cannot extricate itself. Still, look on the bright side – the free $500 million a year Renault got in dividends for its Nissan shares for quite a while has been whittled down to almost zero. Maybe that’s a win in the Japanese company’s thoughts for itself, but Renault must be a bit annoyed.

    And so the soap opera continues.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Ghosn I don’t care either way what happens to him. As for Nissan I will not buy any of their products because they are junk. Worst thing quality wise to happen to Nissan was Renault. The French make bad cars and so do the Italians so the same is true for FCA.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    wrong article – deleted my post

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    what dividebytube said. The new commenting system is going to cost you page views.

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