The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images
The escape of Carlos Ghosn from Japan to Lebanon has captured the world’s attention. But how, exactly, the former auto executive disappeared under intense surveillance, remains the source of much mystery. Theories have ranged from a musical instrument case to forged passports and help from Turkey. Here’s what we know so far. Read more on Ghosn’s dramatic international escapade here. In just over a year, Carlos Ghosn went from superstar automotive executive to international fugitive, and the story of his mysterious escape from Japan has captivated the world’s attention.From musical instrument cases, to paid-off airport employees, and a forged passport, the stunt has no shortage of paths for digital sleuths to investigate.Lebanese officials have said, according to Reuters, that the 65-year-old entered the country legally. How he got there, however, is another question. Ghosn wasn’t required to wear an ankle bracelet, like many house-arrest subjects are required.Despite that, he was under near-constant surveillance by authorities who undoubtedly watched his every move, making his flight all the more gripping of a tale. Here are the theories of Ghosn’s escape, and how well they’re backed up by what we know so far:
A months-long caper
Lebanese police officers are seen at the entrance to the garage of what is believed to be former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn’s house in Beirut, Lebanon December 31, 2019.
Ghosn hired “private security operatives” to smuggle him out of Japan, the Fibioreportscial Times reported Wednesday, citing people with knowledge of the escape.It’s a move that would have taken months to plan and execute, The Wall Street Journal reported, confirming some of the FT’s story. The complex nature of the escape is also the very reason Ghosn was not allowed contact with his wife, who the paper said played a large role in his flight.In a statement released Thursday, Ghosn denied these reports.”There has been speculation in the media that my wife Carole, and other members of my family played a role in my departure from Japan,” he said through a representative.”All such speculation is inaccurate and false. I alone arranged for my departure. My family had no role whatsoever.”
A musical instrument case
A Japanese prosecutor carries bags as he leaves the residence of former auto tycoon Carlos Ghosn in Tokyo on January 2, 2020.
Photo by STR/JIJI PRESS/bioreports via Getty Images
Ghosn’s getaway likely began at his Tokyo home, where he was staying following a release from jail in April. Conditions of his $4.6 million bail said he was to maintain a “registered domestic address” in Japan. There were also restrictions on his travel and communications.The Lebanese TV channel MTV, which cited no sources, said Ghosn fled the flat in a musical instrument case that was used by a band playing a holiday party at his home in the days before his escape. As the Georgian ensemble packed up, the news station said, Ghosn slipped into a large case.However, people close to Ghosn denied the musical instrument theory, the Fibioreportscial Times reported.
A portrait of ousted Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn is seen on a publicity billboard in his support at a street in Beirut on December 6, 2018.
OSEPH EID/bioreports via Getty Images
Once at the airport, Ghosn boarded a flight to Turkey in order to connect to Lebanon. His lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka, said that he still had possession of Ghosn’s three passports from Lebanon, Brazil, and France, The bioreports reported. So what did Ghosn use to enter Turkey and Lebanon? According to Salim Jreissati, the Lebanese minister for presidential affairs, Ghosn “entered the country legally using his French passport and Lebanese ID.”A French deputy minister said the country would be “very angry” if a “foreign citizen fled the French justice system,” according to a bioreports report of a local radio interview.On Thursday, Turkey detained four pilots suspected of helping Ghosn flee via the off-the-books stop in Istanbul.
What happens next
Journalists stake out at the back entrance of a building which houses an office of Junichiro Hironaka, a lawyer for Nissan’s former Chairman Carlos Ghosn, in Tokyo Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019. Ghosn, who is awaiting trial in Japan on charges of fibioreportscial misconduct, has arrived in Beirut, a close friend said Monday. He apparently jumped bail. It was not clear how Ghosn, who is of Lebanese origin and holds French and Lebanese passports, left Japan where he was under surveillance and is expected to face trial in April 2020. (AP Photo/Richard Colombo)
Ghosn is expected to hold a press conference in the coming days, and has retained the services of US-based public relations firm Glover Park Group. Until then, Japanese authorities will have plenty of questions to answer.And the internet will continue to be the internet.—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 1, 2020
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