Turkey detains pilots over ex-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn’s escape

Carlos Ghosn, Japan, Turkey, Pilots
Turkish authorities on Thursday detained seven people – including four pilots – as part of the widening probe into former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn’s wild escape from Japan as he transited through Istanbul en route to Lebanon.


The other people held were two airport ground workers and one cargo worker, a police spokeswoman told Reuters, which reported that the accused embezzler had arrived in Beirut on a private jet from Istanbul on Monday.

Meanwhile, Japanese prosecutors raided the accused embezzler’s Tokyo home after he skipped bail while on house arrest and was smuggled out of the country in a musical instrument case.

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The Turkish Hurriyet news outlet, citing an interior ministry official, said border police were not notified about Ghosn’s arrival — and that neither his entry nor exit were registered, according to Reuters

A plane carrying Ghosn arrived at 5:30 a.m. Monday in Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, Hurriyet reported, adding that prosecutors ordered the arrests after widening their investigation.

Flight tracking data indicates that Ghosn used two different planes to fly into Istanbul and then continue to Lebanon.

Japanese authorities allowed Ghosn — who holds French, Lebanese and Brazilian citizenship — to carry a spare French passport in a locked case while out on bail, public broadcaster NHK reported Thursday.

Ghosn, who was first arrested in Tokyo in November 2018, faces four charges, including hiding income and enriching himself through payments to car dealerships in the Middle East.

He has repeatedly denied the charges, saying authorities trumped up the charges to prevent a possible fuller merger between Nissan and alliance partner Renault SA. He is expected to address the media next week.

On Tuesday, Ghosn said in a statement that he left for Lebanon because he thought the Japanese judicial system was unjust, and he wanted to avoid “political persecution.”

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Lebanese officials have said that Ghosn entered the country legally, and that there was no reason to take action against him.

Selim Jreissati, the Lebanese minister for presidential affairs, told the An-Nahar newspaper that Ghosn entered with a French passport and Lebanese ID.

A court in Tokyo had allowed Ghosn to keep a second French passport as he needed one to travel inside Japan, a source told Agence France-Presse on Thursday.

“He had to keep this passport” to prove his short-stay status, the source said. “There was permission from the court.”

The Japanese government is likely to ask Lebanon to extradite Ghosn through diplomatic channels, though Beirut has no extradition accord with Tokyo.

The French government on Thursday said it would not extradite Ghosn if he arrived in the country because it does not extradite its nationals.

Source: New York Post

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