Ghosn hid in musical instrument case to flee Japan, friend says

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Carlos Ghosn, the former chief of the Nissan-Renault auto alliance, hid in a musical instrument case that people who assisted his escape from Japan carried onto a private jet, a friend said Wednesday.
Ghosn, who was on bail facing trial for alleged financial misconduct, slipped into the case after it was brought to his Tokyo residence by a music band for a Christmas party. Ghosn was then taken to an airport in another part of Japan, Ghosn’s longtime friend Imad Ajami told Kyodo News over the phone.

Ajami, a Lebanese consultant in Tokyo, said he obtained the information from people very close to Ghosn after he departed Japan.

Lebanese and other foreign media have reported that Ghosn, who holds Brazilian, French and Lebanese nationality, flew to Lebanon on a private jet via Turkey. Lebanese television station MTV reported that he hid in a musical instrument case, getting help from a security service company and presenting a French passport to enter Lebanon.

The Japanese transport ministry’s Kansai International Airport office said a private jet left the airport in Osaka Prefecture on Sunday for Istanbul.

In a statement released by his U.S. representative Monday, Ghosn said he went to Lebanon to escape “injustice and political persecution” in Japan.

The 65-year-old former Nissan boss is accused of underreporting his pay for years and misappropriating the company’s funds, charges he denies.

Without elaborating on his information sources, Ajami said that only two members of the music band knew about Ghosn’s escape plan. A truck was used to carry the case with Ghosn inside, and two private jets chartered from a company in Dubai were likely used to get him from Japan to Lebanon, he said.

Under the conditions of his bail, Ghosn was not allowed to leave Japan. His defense team has said it still holds Ghosn’s French, Brazilian and Lebanese passports.

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