Man in the Box: Carlos Ghosn's Bond-worthy Escape Leads to Interpol Warrant
The former auto giant who once hosted a Marie Antoinette-themed wedding party at the Palace of Versailles (and later reimbursed Renault for the supposedly “corporate” event) had his wife to thank for being able to spend New Year’s Eve as a free — but wanted — man.
According to Lebanese news outlet MTV, Carole Ghosn was the mastermind of her husband’s escape from Japan, where Carlos was being held under house arrest while awaiting trial. Like his wedding, Carlos Ghosn’s flight from captivity had all the flair of a blockbuster film plot.
It seems one of the early internet rumors was true. As reported by The Guardian, the escape plan came together after a Gregorian band appeared at Ghosn’s Tokyo home for a performance. Entering the house under the watchful eyes of security cameras placed at the entrance, the band entertained Ghosn for a period of time, after which they packed up and left… with the small-statured Ghosn hiding in one of the music cases.
Accompanying the Gregorian band were ex-special forces mercenaries hired by Carole Ghosn. Upon leaving the residence, the group drove to a small airport, where a private jet was waiting to fly to Turkey. There, Ghosn was smuggled onto a plane bound for Beirut, Lebanon.
A Lebanese foreign ministry official claims Ghosn held a French passport and Lebanese ID when he arrived in Beirut, allowing him entry to the country following a normal security procedure.
Calling her husband’s arrival “the best gift of her life,” Carole was spotted ringing in the new year with Carlos at a Lebanese party.
While the former auto executive’s flight came as a shock to Japanese authorities as well as his legal team (lawyer Junichiro Hironaka told media in Tokyo he was “surprised and baffled”), Reuters reports that a trial delay, as well as a Japanese court’s refusal to allow Ghosn to contact his wife, prompted the daring escape. Sources close to Ghosn claim the former Renault CEO and Nissan chairman learned one of his trials was pushed back to April 2021.
Arrested in Tokyo in November 2018 on charges of underreporting his income to Japanese regulators, Ghosn faces two charges related to income irregularities, as well as two counts of breach of trust. The trials stemming from those alleged crimes are now up in the air.
According to Reuters, a judicial source in Lebanon claims the country’s internal security forces have received a “red notice” arrest warrant from Interpol. Reportedly, the warrant hasn’t yet been passed on to the judiciary, nor does the source know what the country — which doesn’t extradite its citizens — plans to do about it.
Upon arriving in Lebanon, Ghosn issued a statement claiming he had not fled justice; rather, the former executive stated his flight was from “injustice and political persecution” from a “rigged Japanese justice system where guilt is presumed, discrimination is rampant, and basic human rights are denied.”
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The difference between Carlos Ghosn and me: - Over New Year's Carlos Ghosn hosted a Gregorian band, engaged mercenaries, made his escape *and* then attended a party. - I couldn't even get invited to a party.
An Interpol Red Notice is not a warrant. Don't believe me, believe Interpol themselves, specifically where they say "A Red Notice is an international wanted persons notice, but it is not an arrest warrant", see: https://www.interpol.int/en/How-we-work/Notices/Red-Notices With regard to France, that country does not extradite its own citizens, of which Ghosn is one. However because of the Renault connection, Ghosn's activities have been under investigation there too. Were he to turn up in France, he would almost certainly be detained by the French authorities for their own reasons.