Former chairman for Nissan and Mitsubishi Carlos Ghosn reportedly fled Japan as he was facing stiff charges stemming from his time as an auto executive. How he escaped is still a mystery.
Ghosn’s escape had all the earmarks of a Hollywood-style caper that left everyone shocked, even those closest to the automotive tycoon. One report suggested his wife, Carole Ghosn, masterminded a plan in which Ghosn would hide in a large music box and be escorted to a private jet.
Carole Chosn allegedly got help from a music band and small team of special forces officers, Lebanese TV channel MTV reported.
The band reportedly arrived as his home in Tokyo, where Ghosn was under strict surveillance. Ghosn slipped into one of the musician’s larger cases after the band completed a performance at his home. He was then transported to a small local airport shortly thereafter, the report noted.
The flight took the corporate titan to Istanbul, Turkey, where he boarded another private jet for a flight to Lebanon — he arrived in Beirut on Monday. Ghosn is a citizen of Brazil, France and Lebanon, none of which have extradition treaty agreements with Japan.
Other reports raised another possibility.
The Daily Beast noted Tuesday that Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs Keisuke Suzuki visited Lebanon days before Ghosn’s escape for the first time in years, leaving open the possibility that Japan was hoping to find a way out of an embarrassing situation before the country hosts the 2020 Olympics.
Ghosn faces criminal charges in Japan, including allegations that he funneled millions of dollars of Nissan money to a car dealership he controlled. He maintains his innocence and said his ouster from Renault and subsequent arrest was a ruse to push him out of a global auto alliance he helped build.
Ghosn said in a press statement Tuesday after he arrived in Lebanon that he would “no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system where guilt is presumed, discrimination is rampant, and basic human rights are denied.” He added: “I have escaped injustice and political persecution.”
Nearly every person who is charged with a crime in Japan are eventually found guilty, legal experts said. (RELATED: Top Nissan Exec Arrested For Hiding Millions From Financial Officers)
Ghosn joined the French automaker Renault 20 years ago and pulled the company out of a financial tailspin. Renault eventually bought a 36.8% stake in a then-troubled Nissan and turned the reins over to Ghosn, who made the company profitable and cut its debt in half in three years.
Ghosn became the architect of Renault and Nissan’s alliance with Mitsubishi Motors. After forging the triumvirate, the companies produced nearly one out of every nine cars sold worldwide as of 2018. The alliance fell apart shortly after Ghosn’s arrest in November 2018.
Nissan executives opposed plans to deepen the Japanese company’s integration with Renault, Ghosn said. Analysts have lent credence to this position, with some speculating that Nissan is uncomfortable about the possibility of Renault and Ghosn gaining control of the company, CNN reported.
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