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Carlos Ghosn claims he orchestrate his escape from Japan alone

16:59 | 03/01/2020

Carlos Ghosn - the former Renault-Nissan boss on Thursday (Jan 2) claimed he organised his escape from bail in Japan alone.

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Carlos Ghosn - the former Renault-Nissan boss. (AFP/ERIC PIERMONT)

Ghosn stands accused in Japan of deferring part of his salary until after his retirement and concealing this from shareholders, as well as syphoning off millions in Nissan cash for his own purposes.

The exact circumstances of his escape were unclear but media described a plot that had all the trappings of a spy novel.

Turkey said seven people had been detained for questioning, including four pilots, over how the wanted tycoon was able to transit through Istanbul just before New Year's Eve.

Ghosn, who had been under house arrest in Japan’s Tokyo since April, was believed to be holed up in his central Beirut residence.

A Lebanese judicial source told AFP however that Lebanon and Japan do not have an extradition agreement under which Ghosn - who holds Lebanese, French and Brazilian nationalities - could be sent back to Tokyo.

In Japan, prosecutors launched an investigation into the security lapse and on Thursday searched his residence.

According to Japan's Kyodo news agency, Ghosn was smuggled out with the help of two private security operatives who pretended to be part of a music band for a Christmas party at his residence.

Quoting a Lebanese consultant in Tokyo, Kyodo said Ghosn hid in an instrument case before boarding a private jet - a scenario a member of Ghosn's entourage has previously denied.

Ghosn denied through the Paris-based agency handling his PR that his family had anything to do with his escape.

"The media reports saying my wife and other family members played a role in my departure from Japan are falsehoods. I alone organised my departure," he said.

Meanwhile, Turkey also announced that it was holding seven individuals in connection with Ghosn's extraordinary escape.

The investigation is focused on two flights. The first, a Bombardier labelled TC-TSR, flew from Osaka in Japan, landed in Istanbul at 5.15am and parked in a hangar. The second was a private jet to Beirut, a Bombardier Challenger 300 TC-RZA, which left 45 minutes later, according to the Turkish news agency DHA.

Ghosn was able to enter Lebanon on a French passport, according to airport documents seen by AFP.

NHK reported that the court in Tokyo had allowed Ghosn to keep a second French passport so long as it was kept "in a locked case" with the key held by his lawyers./.

VNF/AFP/Kyodo