Winging It: Turkey Charges Crews of Ghosn Escape Planes

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
winging it turkey charges crews of ghosn escape planes

Remember, long ago, when former Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn filled headlines, rather than a virus? Good times. And it seems they’re still good times for Ghosn, whose Bond-like pre-New Year’s escape from Japanese authorities via chartered jets and a musical instrument case delivered him to the relative safety of Lebanon. Warrants are out, but the country’s lack of an extradition agreement with Japan works heavily in the fallen exec’s favor.

While Ghosn, arrested in Tokyo in November of 2018 on suspicion of financial misdealings, may have managed to side-step what he claims was an orchestrated legal hit job, the same can’t be said of the crews of the private jets that shuttled him to Beirut.

As reported by the BBC, Turkish prosecutors have charged seven people for aiding in Ghosn’s escape from justice. Four pilots and an airline executive stand charged with “migrant smuggling,” and two flight attendants face charges of failing to report a crime, after Ghosn switched jets in Istanbul back on December 29th.

The accused have been in police custody since January 2nd. Turkish officials say they weren’t made aware of Ghosn’s passage through their country.

Aiding Ghosn in his flight to freedom was MNG Jet, which specializes in business charters. The airline was apparently just as unaware as the Turkish government as to the human cargo of two of its planes; MNG Jet filed a criminal complaint after the events surrounding Ghosn’s escape came to light.

The circumstances surrounding Ghosn’s escape have never been fully fleshed out. The last we heard was that Ghosn left the home he’d been staying at under house arrest, caught a cab, and headed to a bullet train station. At some point after fleeing Tokyo, he met other individuals and checked into a hotel near his departure airport. It’s still believed Ghosn hid himself inside an oversized Yamaha instrument case that didn’t require inspection, given the private nature of the flight.

Should the four pilots and airline exec go to trial in Turkey, key details of the Ghosn saga will surely emerge.

[Image: Frederic Legrand/Shutterstock]

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  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on May 08, 2020

    Questions: Did they really know what/who was on the plane ? This is an international cluster f not a normal case, but if they didn't know, they can't be guilty. A friend who flew for an airline used to joke that he was the biggest smuggler he knew, because of all the illegal stuff he unknowingly flew across the planet, smuggled by passengers or airline mechanics stashing it in corners of the plane, retrieved by other mechanics at the other end. Pilots do a walk around for safety, they don't do a Customs Search of the plane. What pressure is Japan putting on Turkey ?

    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on May 10, 2020

      The pressure is to make an investigation look good. This escape was set up by others, and to keep the biggest secrets, as few people should be in the know as necessary. The Japanese got what they wanted, Ghosn out, and the halt to the takeover, er, integration of Nissan by Renault. This is all to save face, and keep the pressure on Lebanon.

  • Golden2husky Golden2husky on May 08, 2020

    Ah, Turkey. The country whose authoritarian leader had his goons get out of their car and beat up US protesters on US soil. The secret service should have shot Erdowan's bullies on the spot, fed their bodies into a wood chipper, and sent the package back to Turkey with the Erdowan. F Turkey.

    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on May 10, 2020

      Erdogan is just trying to resurrect the Ottoman Empire, with him as the Muslim Caliph. He's just like Xi Jinping, trying to resurrect the Han Dynasty, Hitler trying to create a combined Austrian-German Empire, and Napoleon trying to re-create the Frank/Holy Roman Empire of Charlemagne. The last two wrecked their countries for a couple generations; the first two are in the process, and well along in their efforts. Of all the diseases that afflict humanity, megalomania is the most destructive, and seems to be impossible to eradicate.

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