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Sunday, January 5, 2020

How did Carlos Ghosn escape? Was former Nissan CEO stuffed in a musical instrument box?

The brazen escape of former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has prompted speculation over how he pulled it off the getaway, which has turned him into an international fugitive.'

In a made-for-the-movies development, Ghosn fled house arrest in Japan by unknown means, flew on a private plane to Turkey and then on a separate private plane to Lebanon, where he has citizenship.
The former chairman of the global alliance between Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi has said he bolted Japan to escape "injustice" in the country's judicial system, where 99% of suspects are convicted of their alleged crimes. Interpol, the international police organization, has issued a wanted notice for his arrest.

Japanese prosecutors and Nissan have accused Ghosn of secretly arranging excessive pay for himself. He has denied the allegations, which led to his firing as Nissan's chairman.

One thing nobody's denying: Ghosn had ample wealth to pull off his escape. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index pegged his net worth at about $120 million.
That's plenty to finance a meticulously planned evasion of Japanese authorities, who had released him from jail after a prolonged period of detainment but did not allow him to see his wife.
But regardless of his wealth, Ghosn couldn't just walk out of his home and onto a commercial flight and exit the country in broad daylight. He clearly needed to stay stealthy.
Speculation is swirling about how he pulled it off.
A Lebanese TV station reportedly claims that Ghosn was clandestinely crammed into a large instrument box after musicians performed at his house in Tokyo, according to The Guardian. Then he was supposedly whisked out of the building, driven several hours to Kansai International Airport near Osaka and ferried onto a private Bombardier business jet.
From there, he was flown to Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, where he stayed for only about half an hour before transitioning to "a smaller jet operated by the same company," Turkey-based MNG Jet Havacilik AS, according to the Wall Street Journal.
But how did Ghosn navigate customs on each leg of his journey?
You can't just stride into a foreign country without proper identification.
Ghosn attorney Junichiro Hironaka told the Wall Street Journal that the executive's legal team had possession of the French, Lebanese and Brazilian citizen's passports.
But the Financial Times reported that "it is not unusual for executives who travel a lot to hold two passports from the same country" and that, in fact, Ghosn "has carried another French passport with him in Tokyo since his release on bail, to fulfil Japanese requirements that foreigners carry formal identification."
That extra passport might've been the key to his escape.
This tale isn't over yet. In fact, retribution is already unfolding.
Turkish police have arrested seven airport staff and pilots while Tokyo authorities raided Ghosn's house for clues, according to the Financial Times.

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