Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: Ghosn Escape Evolves Yet Again As Japan Mulls Border Tightening

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Perhaps former Renault and Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn will put rumors to rest when he speaks to the media on Wednesday. Then again, the international fugitive, who fled house arrest in Japan to a refuge in Lebanon on December 29th, might remain tight-lipped about the details of his escape, as Ghosn’s main beef is with Nissan and the Japanese judiciary.

As a new week dawns, so too does another take on Ghosn’s flight from justice.

According to Japanese news outlet Kyodo, Ghosn, the subject of an international arrest warrant, made the roughly 300-mile trip to Osaka via bullet train after walking out of his Tokyo home, Reuters reports. Citing a source familiar with the investigation, Kyodo claims Ghosn may have been accompanied by several people.

From there, Ghosn reportedly took a taxi to a hotel at Kansai International Airport. What happened next is unconfirmed, though it is known that Ghosn departed Osaka on a private business jet later that night, bound for Istanbul. The Wall Street Journal reports that the shadowy men helping Ghosn may have smuggled him on board the aircraft in an oversized case designed to hold audio gear, knowing that the luggage was too big to fit through airport scanners. The man-in-a-box narrative lives!

Last week, Turkish private jet operator MNG Jet stated that it had detained seven people, including four pilots, for assisting in Ghosn’s escape and falsifying passenger records. The fallen auto titan, arrested in November 2018 and awaiting trial for several alleged financial crimes, switched planes in Istanbul before arriving in Beirut, Lebanon. Ghosn holds Lebanese citizenship, and it so happens that Lebanon does not extradite its citizens.

Japanese authorities, however, are hoping to change the country’s mind. On Sunday, Japanese Justice Minister Masako Mori said the country had no record of Ghosn leaving the country, adding that the court has revoked the fugitive’s bail.

“I have instructed the Immigration Services Agency to coordinate with related agencies to further tighten departure procedures,” Mori said.

While revoking the bail of a man who’s already fled the country may seem like a weak response, Japan’s options in the matter appear limited. While Lebanon does not have an extradition agreement with Japan, Mori said such a request could be made in a manner that guarantees “reciprocity and the domestic law of the partner country.” She did not elaborate on that comment.

Ghosn reportedly fled Japan after learning that one of his trials was pushed back to April of 2021. In two statements issued after his arrival in Beirut, Ghosn claims he fled a “rigged” justice system, and that his escape was planned without the help of family members.

[Image: Nissan]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Jan 06, 2020

    "may have smuggled him on board the aircraft in an oversized case designed to hold audio gear" "Banned - on the run." (Apologies to Paul McCartney.)

    • See 4 previous
    • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Jan 07, 2020

      @JimC2 Hey...isn't he that old guy that worked with Kanye West?

  • Conundrum Conundrum on Jan 06, 2020

    Hell, this article doesn't say much. Looks like my guess about the bullet train to Osaka last week was correct. Fortune this morning named the two bodyguard types whose names were actually on the two jet's manifests and tells us all about their shady lives. https://fortune.com/2020/01/06/green-beret-nissan-carlos-ghosn-japan-escape/

    • See 1 previous
    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Jan 07, 2020

      Fortune probably has enough background data to defend itself in court from the people named. TTAC would go broke from a lawsuit like that.

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