NEWS: Ex-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn flees Japan ahead of trial

The strange saga of former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn keeps getting weirder. The disgraced executive, accused of misusing Nissan’s funds, has unexpectedly shown up in Lebanon after allegedly skipping bail ahead of his upcoming trial. The image above, of Ghosn driving a 1938 Datsun Type 17 through Nissan’s Zama garage, happened in 2012, but we’re just going to pretend his escape went something like that.

Since getting arrested a little over a year ago, Ghosn has served over 120 days in jail, but was allowed to spend the rest of his time under house arrest in Japan as he awaited trial. First reported by the Wall Street Journal, no one is quite sure how the high-profile exec was able to flee Japan. However, the Lebanese newspaper Al Joumhouria says that Ghosn made it to Beirut by private jet via Turkey.

Aside from restaurants and retail stores, almost all businesses in Japan are closed during the last week of the year. It’s typically a very quiet time with many employees on holiday. In other words, if there was a time to pull off an escape like this with minimal eyes watching and responders able to react, this would be it.

Lebanon is one of three countries where Ghosn holds multiple citizenship status, the others being France and Brazil. Ghosn is Lebanese, has family there, and is considered a hero by many of its citizens who rallied to his defense on social media since the arrest, so it’s not surprising he would seek a friendly environment. Lebanon is also one of the places where Ghosn is accused of having purchased a house with Nissan funds. We wonder if the locks have been changed.

At Ghosn was arrested last year with his advisor, Greg Kelly, who held the title of Representative Director at Nissan and remains in Japan. The New York Times reports that Kelly had no idea Ghosn had fled until he heard it through the news. “‘Greg Kelly knew absolutely nothing about this until informed by the media through his counsel and has lived at the foot of the cross in terms of Japanese prosecutors,’ Mr. Kelly’s lawyer, Aubrey Harwell said.” Presumably this complicates Kelly’s case and supports the theory that this is a fleeing rather than the result of a deal.

Ghosn’s trial was scheduled for April 2020, but it seems unlikely he will be facing the law at this point.

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13 Responses to NEWS: Ex-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn flees Japan ahead of trial

  1. Kalervo Kasurinen says:


  2. Mark Newton-John says:

    Get some JGSDF guys to retrieve him…

  3. Mr. F Moulder says:

    He was allowed to leave.
    If Japanese authorities wanted him to stay there, his private jet would’ve never taken flight.

    Some fish are just too big to fry.

  4. Tim says:

    On the one hand Boo Ghosn. On the other, thank goodness he wasn’t subjected to the mockery of justice that is the Japanese legal system.

    Charged with one thing, held in inhuman conditions until you confess or the timer runs out, then charged with something else, then again… repeat until the torture wears you down. And yeah, a 45*F cell with no blankets and flimsy short sleeve jumpsuit IS torture.

    Nobody has a 99% “successful” close rate on cases without some fowl play afoot.

    • Tim says:

      …foul, not fowl. Doh!

      • Mr. F Moulder says:

        It’s a pretty accommodating society if you keep your nose clean. The threshold for being jailed there is arguably higher than the US…with people being given more benefit of the doubt generally. So, therefore prison/ex-con population is significantly lower.

        Part of the reason for that is that criminal justice system is ACTUALLY punishment and not your own little episode of Law & Order. Frankly, if you want to commit a crime, do it in the US. You’ll probably get away with it and you might even get a book deal, recording contract or movie made about you!

        Ghosn’s situation is one where he was high profile and got caught! There’s also (practically) zero-tolerance for the misappropriation of company/public funds there. The amounts are much smaller than the typical US scandals and the consequences are severe…just look up the last governor of Tokyo, Yōichi Masuzoe.
        He didn’t get let off easy!

        • Tim says:

          The threshold is significantly LOWER than in the US, not higher. For example, being friends with someone who smuggled some weed in can result in being held indefinitely in jail. Even if you had no idea that the other person smuggled the weed. Even if you haven’t talked to the person in months. If they can’t get the original person, they will get you and torture you until you confess. Doesn’t matter if the confession is legit or not. They just want one. Especially for drug related crimes.

          The same thing in the US? You won’t even go to court. You’re not responsible for someone else’s actions, after all.

  5. Elo says:

    Le Non Escape Kill air 1. Japanese Police 0.

    • Mr. F Moulder says:

      His escape is essentially an admission of guilt.
      He didn’t want to play by the rules before and refuses to now.

      You could probably follow the seedy breadcrumbs back to find yakuza ties.
      He’s likely been funneling some of that money back to criminals for years who later facilitated his “escape”.

      *This is theory.

  6. Mazluce says:

    This is going to make a great film. Rowan Atkinson must be busy now in getting a script ready, lol. Can’t wait till Ghosn explains what went down.

  7. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    Well, he’s in hotter water now; he’s been reported to have doing business with the Israelis, a bigger crime in Lebanon than any business crime.

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