Carlos Ghosn’s escape from Japan has all the elements of a Hollywood movie — and probably soon will be.
Tom Cruise could play the lead role in the clandestine, Mission Impossible-like operation — at 170cm (5’7” in the old money), the two are about the same height.
For the past 12 months the former boss of the Nissan-Renault Alliance has been under house arrest in Japan, where he is facing numerous financial misconduct charges.
That is until Tuesday when it was revealed the disgraced leader had fled to Lebanon, a country where he grew up — but more importantly one that has no extradition agreement.
Ghosn is reported to have been spirited out of the country inside a large trunk, stowed in the baggage compartment of a private jet.
Make that two private jets: one took him from Osaka to Istanbul in Turkey, another from there to Beirut in Lebanon.
A security camera shows Ghosn leaving his Tokyo home about noon on Sunday, but does not show him returning.
Under the terms of his bail, he was required to fit security cameras at the entrances of the residence.
Interpol has reportedly issued a warrant for Ghosn’s arrest, while several suspects allegedly involved in his escape have been arrested in Turkey.
Born in Brazil of Lebanese ancestry, Ghosn holds French, Brazilian and Lebanese passports.
“I am now in Lebanon and will no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system where guilt is presumed,” he said in a brief statement.
“Discrimination is rampant, and basic human rights are denied. I have not fled justice — I have escaped injustice and political persecution.
“I can now finally communicate freely with the media, and look forward to starting next week.”
Ghosn was released on bail in March for a record $9 million US dollars ($12 million Australian).
Presumably this money has been forfeited, making it a very expensive exercise indeed — especially if he is, as claimed, innocent of the charges.
We may never find out.
In Beirut, Ghosn is something of a hometown hero where billboards proclaim: “We are all Carlos Ghosn”.
He has also featured on a postage stamp.
Please, feel free to offer suggestions for the title of the movie (keep it clean)?
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