For a moment, leave aside the alleged criminal activity, and illegality of the actions of Carlos Ghosn to focus for a moment on the daring plan hatched by the former chairman of the largest auto-group in the world, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, and his team, which included a former Green Beret and a former Lebanese militiaman.
Utilizing Japan’s bullet train, subterfuge, airline loopholes, and carefully analyzed legal research, they successfully transported Ghosn out of his home in Japan, where he was under house arrest, to Lebanon, where he is a citizen. Lebanon does not extradite its citizens, so for the moment, Ghosn is safe. The Daily Mail reports:
Former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn employed an international team of up to 15 conspirators, including a former Green Beret commando, to pull his daring escape from house arrest in Japan.
It was revealed yesterday that months of planning went into plotting the ex-CEO’s bid for freedom, that saw lax airport security exploited as well as a route through Russia used to aid a smooth passage to Lebanon.
The 65-year-old executive is now in Lebanon after he skipped bail nearly a week ago, fleeing Japan where he was awaiting trial on multiple counts of financial misconduct that he denies.
Included in the squad was private security contractor and former Special Forces US Army veteran, Michael Taylor, who has previously protected powerful people and companies as well as secretly helping the US government.
His partner in the operation was Lebanese-born George-Antoine Zayek, who was a member of a a Christian militia in his home country during the 1980s, according to the New York Times.
Members of the team made more than 20 trips to Japan and surveyed at least ten airports before noticing a security loophole at the terminal reserved for private jets at Osaka.
As a result Ghosn was able to launch a 300-mile dash from Tokyo to Osaka on board a bullet train before being smuggled on to a private plane hidden in a large crate used to carry speakers with small holes drilled in the bottom so that he could breathe.
Ghosn was reportedly wearing a hat and a surgical mask when he was smuggled out of his home in Tokyo and onto the bullet train to Osaka.
A jet then carefully travelled though Russian airspace for as much of its 12-hour journey as possible to avoid South Korea, which has an extradition treaty with Japan, China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that Ghosn was loaded onto the flight from Osaka in a large case for audio equipment, which was later found at the back of the cabin.
The newspaper cited unnamed sources close to the investigation in Turkey as saying that holes had been drilled into the bottom of the container to ensure the businessman could breathe.
Japanese authorities seemed to have no idea Ghosn was no longer in the country, and the Bombardier jet landed in Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport at around 5.30am local time on December 30.
Ghosn changed planes in Turkey to avoid arousing suspicion as a direct flight from Osaka to Beirut could have been flagged to authorities.
Ghosn made the short trip from Istanbul to Beirut inside a box used for speakers, according to reports.
Read more here.
After Ghosn’s escape, Japan is seeking to arrest his wife, though that’s unlikely because she too is in Lebanon.