Carlos Ghosn is somewhat of a celebrity in the car industry. He is the man who is behind what is arguably the world’s largest car manufacturer. Ghosn was arrested on November 19th, 2018, in Japan. Ghosn’s arrest attracted a lot of attention as it marked his fall from grace. Ghosn was a man held to high regard, respected as one of the world’s greatest and most powerful executives in the automotive industry.
Ghosn was credited for having brought life to the Nissan auto company in Japan and also for reviving the Renault brand. His alliance later led to him earning credit for his contributions to the Mitsubishi Motors of Japan as well. These three automotive companies sold a whopping 10.6 million cars in 2019. And so it is now easy to see why Ghosn’s arrest is so alarming in the industry.
It was an internal inquiry that led to the discovery that Ghosn’s compensation had been underreported to the government of Japan. It is said that only 50% of Ghosn’s $88 million compensation payment was actually declared between the years 2011 and 2015. It was stated by Nissan that the entire investigation stemmed from a tip-off from a whistleblower who stated Ghosn had misrepresented his salary and was misusing the company assets for personal gains. The other arrest that was made in relation to the situation was that of Greg Kelly, Nissan’s American director and the former head of human resources. Both Kelly and Ghosn are suspected of having masterminded a scheme devised to mislead government authorities. However, neither Kelly nor Ghosn has been charged.
A Few Months Later
In early March of 2019, Carlos Ghosn was granted bail, however, he was not allowed to see his wife Carole without seeking the court’s permission first. Bail was agreed on at a cost of $4.5 million, as per the decision by the Tokyo district court. This comes after four arrests of Ghosn for allegations of his misuse of the Nissan company funds. Ghosn was detained for 108 days since his arrest in November.
Unfortunately, Ghosn’s bail was short-lived as he was re-arrested in April 2019 over allegations that his actions had resulted in $5 million of losses for Nissan through channeling cash from a discrete fund to a firm operated by his wife, which was found to be used to purchase a yacht. Meanwhile, Ghosn continues to deny all allegations, and even going so far as to accuse executives of Nissan of conspiracy centered around his arrest. In fact, as Ghosn was taken back into detention he used the words ‘conspiracy’, ‘plot’ and ‘backstabbing’ in accusation of the executive of the company.
His latest detention was criticized by Ghosn’s attorneys as illegal and inhumane, and they claimed it was in violation of his rights. It is reported that Ghosn agreed not to leave Japan in exchange for release from his detention in March, and further agreed to live in a court-appointed, small apartment in Toyo central, fitted with a camera to monitor his movements. Ghosn was not allowed access to the internet and even then his offline use of the computer facilities was restricted to working hours only, at his lawyer’s office.
While Ghosn was awaiting a trial date, he managed to secretly escape Tokyo and flee to Lebanon, on Dember 29th 2019. Now there are three warrants for arrest issued for three Americans who are believed to have assisted Ghosn in planning his escape to Lebanon. The Americans are George-Antoine Zayek, Michael Taylor and Peter Taylor. It has not been disclosed where it is suspected that these three men are living. Apparently, it is believed that Zayek and Michael Taylor helped to smuggle Ghosn in cargo through a Japanese airport, and into a private jet.
The Series of Events Following Ghosn’s Escape
Since no extradition treaty exists between Japan and Lebanon, Ghosn’s arrest in improbable. Of course, prosecutors are now pointing out that Ghosn has violated his bail conditions. Investigations into his escape include prosecutors forcing open Ghosn’s former attorney’s office in order to search records for information on who Ghosn met with during his bail, and asking fr the permission of the judge to access the contents of the computer used by Ghosn at the attorney’s office since the lawyer has refused to hand over the computer in the name of attorney-client confidentiality privileges.
On January 8th, 2020, Ghosn engaged in a two-hour interview with CNBC, where he still denies any charges against him and also defends his decision of becoming an international fugitive. Ghosn has declined to confirm any specifics regarding his escape. Since his escape, Ghosn claims he is now ‘reborn’. Ghosn also shared that his fleeing Japan was because he wanted justice and a chance to re-establish his reputation, which was not possible in Japan. Ghosn promises to release more details in his attempts to clear his reputation and to restore his name in the industry.