How Carlos Ghosn Escaped Japan

The escape reportedly took months of planning and involved 10-15 people

Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn and his wife Carole leave the office of his lawyer Junichiro Hironaka in Tokyo on April 3, 2019. (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP)
Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn and his wife Carole leave the office of his lawyer Junichiro Hironaka in Tokyo on April 3, 2019. (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP)
By Bonnie Stiernberg / January 8, 2020 10:03 am

Former Nissan executive Carlos Ghosn, who is facing charges of financial crimes in Japan, fled the country on Dec. 29, traveling first by train from his home in Tokyo, where he had been living while out on $14 million bail to Osaka, 300 miles away, before sneaking through airport security and making his way all the way to Lebanon, where he holds citizenship. Now, a new Wall Street Journal report reveals the months of planning and massive costs that went into his escape.

Ghosn hired a team of private security officers — some with experience rescuing hostages — to smuggle him out of the country. He hid inside a large, black case with holes drilled in the bottom typically used to transport audio gear for concerts, and two people accompanied the case through the private-jet lounge of Osaka’s Kansai International Airport knowing that it was too large to fit in the airport’s X-ray machine and wouldn’t be checked by hand.

The case was then loaded into the cabin of a 13-passenger private jet, along with another decoy case that was actually full of audio gear, and the plane flew to Istanbul before continuing on to Beirut. (Lebanon does not extradite its citizens.) Ghosn reportedly began planning the escape in the spring of last year, and he assembled a team of 10 to 15 operatives to help him pull it off.

Ghosn, who maintains his innocence, gave a press conference Wednesday (Jan. 8)  in Beirut to tell his side of the story. “As you can imagine today is a very important day for me,” he told reporters, “one I have looked forward to every single day for more than 400 days since I was brutally taken for my world as I knew it, and ripped from my family, my friends, my communities, from Renault-Nissan, and Mitsubishi, and the 450,000 women and men who comprise those companies.”

Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter.

Daily Brief

News From Around the Web

March 31, 2020