DesPardes + PKonweb

Ex-Nissan Boss Carlos Ghosn’s ‘Great Escape’: How Did He Flee Japan, Land in Lebanon?

How he did it increasingly sounds like a movie-level caper

DESPARDES — Lebanon has received a “red notice” from Interpol for the arrest of fugitive ex-Nissan and Renault boss Carlos Ghosn.

An Interpol “red notice” is a request to police across the world to provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender or other similar legal action.

The move follows the tycoon’s dramatic flight to Beirut to escape corruption charges.

However, Lebanon has no extradition treaty with Japan.

Mr Ghosn, who was facing trial in Japan for alleged financial misconduct, arrived in Beirut on New Year’s Eve.

The private jet on which he escaped reportedly landed in Istanbul first, prompting an investigation by Turkey.

According to Turkish media, seven arrests have been made in connection with the case – four pilots, a cargo company manager and two airport workers.

Mr. Ghosn managed to evade 24-hour surveillance in Tokyo and spirit himself out of Japan. How he did it increasingly sounds like a movie-level caper.

Associates planned the heist for months, the FT reports, citing unnamed sources. They hired private security operatives who worked in multiple countries.

Mr. Ghosn made it onto a private plane bound for Turkey and arrived in Lebanon early Monday, the WSJ adds. (A Lebanese news media outlet claimed that he had hidden in a box meant for musical equipment; the world’s tabloids, perhaps with an eye on that movie version, reckon it must have been a double bass case.) He entered Lebanon on a French passport.

His Japanese legal team was blindsided. He’d supposedly handed over all of his travel documents. “I want to ask him, ‘How could you do this to us?” his lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka, told reporters, according to The New York Times.

It’s unclear whether Lebanon helped. The government there recently asked Japan to send Mr. Ghosn for trial in Beirut on corruption charges. But an official denied any involvement in his escape.

What’s clear is that Mr. Ghosn has scores to settle. His statements have denounced “injustice and political persecution” in Japan’s legal system. He may also take aim at Nissan, where he accuses officials of plotting against him, and at the French government, for not doing more to help him.