The disgraced former chairman of Renault-Nissan Carlos Ghosn managed to escape Japan by hiding in a musical instrument case, according to several reports.
The audacious escape was reportedly carried out with the help of a group who posed as musicians, who were due to perform at a function held in Ghosn’s Tokyo home, according to Lebanon’s MTV.
They then left the residence after the requisite time had passed. But unbeknownst to the Japanese authorities guarding the former executive, he had slipped past the security cordon hidden a musical instrument case. He then fled the country via a local airport.
The former executive stands accused of underreporting his income and pinning his personal financial losses on Nissan. He posted bail of $9 million in April and was kept under house arrest in Tokyo, during which time he was forbidden from communicating with his wife for seven months as part of his bail conditions.
By the time anyone was aware that the former head of Nissan-Renault had fled house arrest in Japan Tuesday, he was already in Beirut and had reportedly met with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who afforded him a security detail for his own protection.
“I am now in Lebanon and will no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system where guilt is presumed, discrimination is rampant, and basic human rights are denied,” Ghosn said in a statement on Tuesday.
MTV reported that Ghosn entered Lebanon using his French passport, despite his lawyer’s claims to have all three of the executive’s passports, in accordance with his bail conditions. Ghosn holds French, Lebanese and Brazilian citizenship and, while he enjoys widespread support in Lebanon, it is unclear whether he will remain there as the situation unfolds.
Junichiro Hironaka, Ghosn’s lawyer, said his client’s actions were “inexcusable,” and questioned how and why he would do this to his own legal team.
Questions remain about how Ghosn managed to obtain his passport and how he could slip past airport security to board a private plane to Turkey and then on to Lebanon. The unlikely nature of Ghosn’s escape brought a smile to many online commentators.
Ghosn had revived the fortunes of two struggling global auto makers via a Franco-Japanese alliance, but his legacy will be that he spent months training to contort to himself fit inside the case for a giant double bass; the perfect getaway
Later on Tuesday, Lebanon’s Directorate of General Security declared that Ghosn had entered the country “legally” and will not face any legal repercussions, Lebanese media reported.
“The circumstances of his departure from Japan and arrival in Beirut are unknown to us, and all talk about it is his own matter.”