Ex-Nissan CEO borrows a Hollywood plot to plan his escape
Carlos Ghosn fled Japan and his corruption trial in a box
You would either have to be super smart or come up with some brilliant foolproof plans to bypass the draconian laws and surveillance in Japan. In Hollywood’s terms, one might have to combine Shawshank Redemption, Ocean’s 11 and Argo to even think of escaping a legislative-centric country like Japan. And Carlos Ghosn might have done just that.
Charged with several counts of financial misconduct, ex-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has managed to escape both Japan and his forthcoming trials. The businessman, who has an estimated fortune of £91 million, was about to face trials for a £65million-equivalent corruption charge in Japan. On arriving at his home city of Beirut, he released a statement claiming he had “not fled justice – I have escaped injustice and political persecution”.
How he actually got away is the subject of much internet and media speculation. A theory by Lebanese TV station MTV sketches a Hollywood-esque plot sequence, whereby Ghosn smuggled himself out of Japan while hiding inside a large musical instrument case. The case belonged to a Christmas band who were called to perform at his Tokyo residence. Ghosn is then said to have entered Lebanon via a private plane from Turkey.
This theory was further validated by the plane tracking site FlightRadar24, showing a Bombardier Challenger private jet arriving at Beirut-Rafic Hariri international airport from Istanbul. Reports from The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times claimed that planning for this venture must have been going on for months. They indicate the involvement of personal security officials disguised as band members.
As for the required documents at various airports, Ghosn is said to have used his supposed duplicate or fake French passport (he had Lebanese, French, Brazilian passports) as the original ones are with the Japanese authorities. Laying low from government officials around the globe, news agencies claim the businessman used a small airport in Turkey to proceed to Beirut in his private plane without getting recognised.
At present, the governments of Japan and Lebanon do not share an extradition deal. This leaves Ghosn to enjoy his stay in his home country without getting extradited or facing legal action by Japanese courts. The foreign ministry of Lebanon further validated his arrival in the country legally, but says it remains unaware of how he fled Japan and arrived in Beirut.
Arrested on charges of syphoning millions of dollars of corporate money for personal gain, Ghosn was granted bail early this year. The Tokyo court of law set his conditional bail at 1 billion yen (about US$9 million), provided he remained inside his house under 24-hour surveillance with no internet access and no permission to fly abroad. And yet, the businessman managed to escape right under the nose of the Japanese authorities.
It seems Ghosn likes living on the edge and has a knack for pulling off such nerve-racking stunts. The businessman previously dressed up as a construction worker to throw journalists off guard while leaving prison. It didn't work very well though, as the media and the public mocked him for it, and his legal team subsequently issued an apology. It looks like this time Ghosn has learned from his mistakes.
Any Hollywood scriptwriters here?