Carlos Ghosn slipped out of his Tokyo home moments after round-the-clock surveillance of his residence stopped on December 29, Japan’s Sankei newspaper reported.
A private security company hired by Nissan Motor Co had been closely monitoring Ghosn while he was out on bail, the newspaper said, citing people with knowledge of the matter. The surveillance ended after Ghosn’s lawyer threatened the firm with a lawsuit, Sankei said.
The 65-year-old multinational was arrested in Japan on allegations of financial misconduct on November 19, 2018, while he was chief executive officer of Renault SA and chairman of Nissan. After lengthy prison stays, Tokyo’s district court let Ghosn post bail last March, overruling prosecutors’ objections that he was a flight risk.
Ghosn said on January 2 that his family played no role in aiding his escape, and that he alone organised his departure.
Japanese media reported that surveillance footage shows Ghosn left the house alone around lunch time on December 29 and didn’t return. There has been conflicting reports on how he left his home, with some speculating he was smuggled from the premises inside a large musical case brought in earlier.
Nissan declined to comment on the Sankei report and other details. The Metropolitan Police also said there are currently no official announcements regarding the Ghosn case.
Ghosn somehow made it to an airport where he was flown to Istanbul and then to the capital of Lebanon, where he has citizenship. He was transferred between the two airplanes inside a box, a Turkish official said, asking not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.
Ghosn’s lawyer Junichiro Hironaka said the former executive had possession of a French passport that was placed in a locked, transparent case, according to NHK. His lawyers held the key to the lock, but as the case was made from plastic-like material, it could have been broken by a hammer, he said.
Turkish authorities have remanded five people as part of a probe into the private jet flights that carried Ghosn. MNG Jet confirmed that it leased a pair of aircraft to two different clients in December, with one set to fly from Dubai to Osaka and then to Istanbul, and the other scheduled from Istanbul to Beirut.
Ghosn plans to hold a press conference next week in Beirut to provide his version of events.
Ghosn’s escape jet from Japan used illegally, operator says
The private jets that transported Carlos Ghosn from Japan to Lebanon were deployed illegally using falsified records that didn’t mention the former Nissan Motor Co executive as a passenger, the aircraft’s operator said.
MNG Jet Havacilik AS said in a statement that it filed a criminal complaint on January 1 about what it said amounted to “the illegal use of its jet charter services.” One company employee, who is being investigated by authorities, has admitted to fabricating records and acted alone, MNG said.
Ghosn’s audacious escape from house arrest has given rise to speculation just how he managed to slip from grips of Japan’s legal system. Ghosn said that his family played no role in aiding his flight, and that he alone organised his departure.
That he was able to leave the country despite confiscated passports has fed the folklore surrounding Ghosn, long one of the most recognised faces in global executive circles.
Japanese media reported today that surveillance footage shows Ghosn left the house alone on the day of his disappearance but didn’t return. That contrasts with speculation that he was smuggled from the premises inside a large musical case brought in earlier by band. He was eventually transferred between the two jets inside a box, a Turkish official said, asking not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.
Turkish authorities have detained seven people, including four pilots, as part of a probe into the private jet flights that carried Ghosn. MNG Jet confirmed that it leased a pair of aircraft to two different clients in December, with one to fly from Dubai to Osaka and then to Istanbul, and the other scheduled from Istanbul to Beirut.
“The two leases were seemingly not connected to each other,” Cem Sasmaz, general manager of MNG Jet, said on the company’s website Friday. “The name of Mr. Ghosn did not appear in the official documentation of any of the flights. The jets did not belong to but were operated by MNG Jet.”
The former automotive executive was facing trial for alleged financial crimes — which he has consistently denied — and was under house arrest in Japan after months of prison detention. He was flown to Istanbul this week and then to the capital of Lebanon, where Ghosn has citizenship, protecting him from extradition back to Japan. He plans to give a press conference next week in Beirut to provide his version of events.