Carlos Ghosn's son allegedly paid for his father to be smuggled out of Japan
He's thought to have coughed up around $500,000 in cryptocurrency to get his father out
If you were to say that the recent adventures of former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn have caused a bit of a stir in the media, you'd be relatively underestimating things. The Brazilian-born French-Lebanese businessman's escape from Japan to his childhood home Lebanon via a box and a private jet was one of the most talked-about stories in the entire world in general before COVID-19 struck us. You can totally understand why too, considering how absolutely insane it was that he managed to smuggle himself out of Japan completely undetected! Now there's been even more developments in the case as U.S. prosecutors have claimed that Ghosn's son Anthony had paid around $500,000 in cryptocurrency to get his father out of Japan.
In a court filing made on 22nd July, federal U.S. prosecutors asserted that Anthony Ghosn paid father and son duo Michael (a U.S. Army Special Forces veteran) and Peter Taylor the huge cryptocurrency sum whilst his father was on bail in Japan. This came on top of another $862,500 that Carlos Ghosn himself had paid to a company that Peter Taylor managed in October 2019, two months before the escape was made. The two Taylors have been in jail since May, when they were arrested at the request of the Japanese authorities who want them to be extradited to Japan to face charges there. The court ruling was an argument against allowing the Taylors to be released on bail; the U.S. prosecutors claim that the Taylors pose a severe flight risk due to having access to what they described as "Ghosn's vast resources," something they backed up with a recent TV interview done by Ghosn where he claimed he would be helping everyone who stands with him.
So why pay the Taylors in cryptocurrency? Well, it's much harder to trace cryptocurrency than it is to trace conventional currency such as the US dollar. Because cryptocurrencies are encrypted, it takes a little bit more effort to crack down where it's actually been. This can make them a much more secure way for people to conduct dodgy dealings, or indeed anything that they'd rather the financial authorities not see. With a situation like this where Anthony Ghosn was paying to have his father smuggled out of Japan, you'd definitely want to keep a big payment for a service like that very much on the quiet! It's not foolproof, however. Clearly the prosecutors have found a way to track the younger Ghosn's cryptocurrency payments, considering they have been mentioned in the court filing.
There's been further developments in the curious case of Carlos Ghosn too beyond his dealings with the Taylors. Some leaked e-mails were uncovered in mid-June that gave some credence to Ghosn's claims that he was being set up prior to his arrest in September 2018 for financial misconduct. These e-mails detail a power struggle within Nissan's top leadership over Ghosn's desire for greater integration with Renault, something which other people at the top of Nissan weren't happy with. Nissan viewed the detention and then later exit of Ghosn as an opportunity to reshape the Nissan-Renault alliance in a way that was more favourable to Nissan, going against Ghosn's idea of a more integrated (and in some ways irreversible) alliance between the two huge car makers. At the centre of the anti-Ghosn push was apparently Hari Nada, who later ended up testifying against Ghosn. Nissan have since claimed that the e-mails could have been "forged or falsified to suggest that they had been sent by Nissan individuals."
The Taylors are currently contesting their extradition of Japan, arguing that the charges against them are flawed because the Japanese penal code doesn't explicitly make it a criminal offence to help somebody jump bail unless that person is already in custody. The trial continues.