A company that operates private jets in Turkey has said fugitive businessman Carlos Ghosn used two of its planes to illegally flee Japan.
MNG Jet has filed a criminal complaint over the incident – a day after Turkish police detained seven people, including four pilots, as part of their investigation into the ex-Nissan CEO’s surprise escape.
According to the company, an employee falsified lease records to exclude Ghosn’s name from the documents.
Image: The businessman’s Tokyo home has been raided following his escape to Lebanon
Ghosn, who was awaiting trial on financial misconduct charges, fled to Lebanon on New Year’s Eve to escape Japan’s “rigged” justice system – and travelled via Istanbul.
The company’s statement added: “In December 2019, MNG Jet leased two separate private jets to two different clients… One private jet from Dubai to Osaka and Osaka to Istanbul, and another private jet from Istanbul to Beirut. The two leases were seemingly not connected to each other.”
Earlier this week, Ghosn said his family had no involvement in his escape from Japan – and insisted speculation that they were involved in his departure was “inaccurate and false”.
In a statement, he said: “There has been speculation in the media that my wife Carole and other members of my family played a role in my departure from Japan. All such speculation is inaccurate and false.
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“I alone arranged for my departure. My family had no role whatsoever.”
Image: Prosecutors raid Ghosn’s residence in the Japanese capital
In other developments, Ghosn’s home in Tokyo has been raided by prosecutors – and Lebanon has received a red notice on Interpol which calls on authorities to arrest him.
Ghosn, who is of Lebanese origin and holds French, Lebanese and Brazilian citizenship, said he fled Japan because he wanted to avoid “political persecution”.
According to Reuters, plans for the 65-year-old to be smuggled out of Japan by a private security firm were in the making for three months.
Lebanon, which does not have an extradition treaty with Japan, said he entered the country legally on a French passport and there was no reason to take action against him.
But a member of Ghosn’s legal team in Japan said his lawyers still had all three of his passports, under the terms of his bail.
Ghosn was allowed by Japanese authorities to carry a spare French passport in a locked case while out on bail, Japan’s NHK said, shedding some light on how he was able to get to Beirut.
The key to the locked case was reportedly held by his lawyers.
His lawyer Junichiro Hironaka said he was stunned after Ghosn fled and has denied all knowledge of the escape.
He said he did not expect his client to return to Tokyo.
Ghosn, who is believed to have been under tight surveillance in Japan, had escaped in a musical instrument case, according to reports in Lebanon.
The country’s news channel MTV had reported Ghosn’s wife Carole helped plan the escape, which was carried out by a paramilitary-style group.
The channel reported the members disguised themselves as a music band who were due to perform for a Gregorian-style dinner at Ghosn’s home in Japan.
Image: Ghosn pictured with his wife Carole in Tokyo last March
Ghosn was first arrested in Tokyo in November 2018.
He faces four charges including hiding income and enriching himself through payments to car dealerships in the Middle East. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. He denies all charges.
After his arrest, he enjoyed an outpouring of support from Lebanon.
The Tokyo district court has now reportedly revoked his bail, meaning authorities would seize the 1.5bn yen (£10.4m) Ghosn had posted on two separate instances to get out of detention.
Source : Sky News