The Great Escape: Carlos Ghosn Reportedly Flees House Arrest in Japan, Turns Up in Lebanon

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
the great escape carlos ghosn reportedly flees house arrest in japan turns up in

Japanese authorities are attempting to confirm reports that former Nissan and Renault chairman Carlos Ghosn, arrested in Japan in November 2018 and since charged with two counts each of improper financial reporting and breach of trust, has fled the country.

Numerous media reports claim Ghosn, who holds Lebanese (as well as French and Brazilian) citizenship, appeared in Beirut on Monday. How he managed to slip out of the country where he was awaiting trial is still murky.

The conditions imposed on Ghosn by Japanese authorities were strict; the former auto giant’s whereabouts were constantly monitored, his passports were seized, and he wasn’t even permitted to meet with his wife (that condition was eased in late November). Both Ghosn and his wife have long protested his treatment at the hands of that country’s authorities, which held Ghosn in a jail cell for 108 following his arrest.

According to France’s Les Echos, Ghosn arrived in Beirut by private jet, via Turkey. A Lebanese official told AFP that Ghosn had indeed landed in the country’s capital, though neglected to mention the route taken. One source told the Wall Street Journal that Ghosn fled Japan amid fears that he could not receive a fair trial in the country.

Following the reports, state-owned Japanese broadcaster NHK released a rundown of Ghosn’s court-ordered bail conditions, the most prominent being a ban on international travel. With his passport in the hands of his lawyers, Ghosn was forbidden from leaving the country and had to seek the court’s permission to travel in Japan for more than three days. The former executive was being housed in a home in central Tokyo (with its entrance placed under surveillance), unable to speak to his wife without court permission, nor allowed to speak to executives of Nissan dealerships in Oman or Lebanon.

Ghosn’s only access to the outside world was a mobile phone provided by his lawyers. Unable to access the internet, Ghosn was required to submit his communications history to the court.

“Tokyo District Court says it has not changed the condition forbidding Ghosn to travel abroad,” NHK reported. “If his departure from Japan is confirmed, his release will likely be rescinded and his bail of about 14 million dollars forfeited.”

Lebanon, if you’re curious, does not extradite citizens accused of crimes in other countries. While the internet has provided many unsubstantiated claims on just how Ghosn made his way out of Japan, we’ll fill you in on confirmed details when they arise.

[Image: Nissan]

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  • Dantes_inferno Dantes_inferno on Jan 02, 2020

    Ghosn ghosts Japan.

  • Manic Manic on Jan 02, 2020

    Now there's more details and it seems he hired a sec co. which organized everything, 2 different jets, change in Istanbul. First flight from Osaka and he was transported on board in a flight case of some musical instrument. And western people who have court battles in Japan agree that it was right decision. The Times (of London): "One American neighbour, Glen Wood, 49, expressed sympathy for Mr Ghosn’s plight in Japan. He said he himself was in a long legal battle with his former Japanese employer. “He was never going to get a fair trial. The Japanese legal system seems always to be on the side of the corporation. “In my case, I’ve asked for documents they have in the discovery process and the company won’t turn them over. The judge sides with them. The little guy has the odds stacked against him.” and "Speaking to The Times yesterday, Michael Woodford, the British boss who fled Tokyo in fear of his life after exposing a scandal that rocked the country in 2012, said that Mr Ghosn had made the right decision to leave Japan. Woodford, 59, the former CEO of Olympus, said that he could “understand exactly why Carlos Ghosn did it. There is a grave doubt about whether he would have had a fair trial and I’m very sympathetic to that.” and "Ghosn had accused the prosecutors of malfeasance in his case, the prosecutors have refused to share more than 6,000 files relevant to his legal defence. It has also been suggested that a delay in the prosecution case, which meant the trial was unlikely to come to court before April 2021, was the final straw that prompted Mr Ghosn to activate his escape plan."

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