Carlos Ghosn has for the first time provided details about his daring escape from Japan while awaiting trial on charges of financial misconduct.
In an interview with the BBC, the former chairman of Nissan confirmed reports that he was smuggled out of Japan while on bail in December 2019 inside a box used to store musical equipment, before arriving in Lebanon via from Turkey.
In previous public comments, Ghosn, who has Brazilian, French and Lebanese passports, had declined to explain how he escaped.
“The plane was scheduled to take off at 11 pm,” Ghosn said, recalling the time he spent inside the box at an airport in western Japan waiting to board a private jet and flee a judicial system that he says, I would have wrongly found him guilty. hiding income and misusing company funds.
“The 30-minute wait in the box of the plane, waiting for it to take off, was probably the longest wait I’ve ever experienced in my life,” he said. In total, he said, it was hidden inside the box for about an hour and a half, adding that it felt like “a year and a half.”
The fugitive also spoke of the elation he felt when he landed in his native Lebanon, which does not have an extradition treaty with Japan. “The thrill was that finally, I will be able to tell the story,” he said.
Ghosn’s criticism of his treatment in Japan following his dramatic arrest in late 2018 triggered unprecedented scrutiny of the country’s criminal justice system, where prosecutors can detain suspects for long periods and more than 99% of criminal cases. they end with guilty verdicts.
Ghosn spent long periods in custody in a Tokyo detention center before being released on bail for the second time several months before his escape. He faced 15 years in prison if convicted.
“The plan was that I couldn’t show my face, so I had to be hiding somewhere,” he said of the day of his escape. “And the only way that it could be hidden [was] to be in a box or in a luggage so that nobody could see me, nobody could recognize me and the plan could work. “
Ghosn has faced criticism for choosing not to defend himself in court, while one of his former colleagues stands trial in Japan along with two men accused of plotting his escape from justice.
Greg Kelly, a former Nissan executive close to Ghosn, faces a prison sentence if convicted of helping his former boss underreport his income by tens of millions of dollars.
Kelly has denied the charges and a verdict is expected later this year.
Michael and Peter Taylor, the American father and son who transported Ghosn from a hotel to the airport on the day of his escape, face nearly three years in prison for helping him escape.
The Taylors, who were extradited from the United States earlier this year, apologized to Japanese authorities for their alleged role in Ghosn’s escape.
“I am sorry and sorry,” Michael Taylor said in court in Tokyo earlier this month. His son said, “I apologize to the people of Japan and deeply regret my action.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism