Interpol Issues 'Red Notice' for Escaped Ghosn

Lebanon will question fugitive CEO as a result, but it is not compelled to arrest him
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 2, 2020 7:22 AM CST
Updated Jan 2, 2020 11:42 AM CST
Ghosn Reportedly Was Allowed to Keep a Passport
In this March 6, 2019, file photo, former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn travels in a car, in Tokyo, after posting bail.   (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko. File)

News outlets, not to mention the government of Japan, are still trying to piece together how former Nissan exec Carlos Ghosn slipped out of the country ahead of his trial and made it to Lebanon. By most accounts, Ghosn was smuggled onto a private jet to Turkey then flew to Lebanon from there. But how did he clear customs if he had surrendered all his passports in Japan? Two new reports, from AFP and Japan's NHK, may have the answer: Both say a Japanese court allowed Ghosn to keep one of his two French passports at home. The reason is unclear, but his attorneys apparently argued he needed it for travel within Japan itself. It was to be kept in a locked case, with his attorneys holding the code or key. Other details:

  • Wanted man: Interpol issued a wanted notice for Ghosn on Thursday, and Lebanon has received it, reports the AP. However, the "red notice" doesn't compel Lebanon to arrest Ghosn. In response to the alert, a Lebanese court summoned Ghosn to appear for questioning next week, reports the Wall Street Journal. "We are a country of law and respect the law," said Lebanese Justice Minister Albert Serhan. "The prosecution will not stay cross-armed regarding this red notice."

  • Why he left: Reuters reports that two reasons prompted Ghosn to bolt: He learned one of his trials on allegations of financial wrongdoing had been delayed a year to 2021, and he had been barred from seeing and speaking with his wife.
  • Fiction? In another Reuters story, wife Carole Ghosn dismisses as "fiction" reports in Lebanese media that her husband was smuggled onto a plane in a large box designed for a musical instrument.
  • The plot: Both Reuters and the Wall Street Journal says the scheme to get Ghosn out of the country was planned for months. "It was a very professional operation from start to finish," one source tells Reuters. The outlet says a private security firm orchestrated the escape.
  • A denial: Ghosn released a statement Thursday denying reports that his wife or any other member of his family played a role in his escape. "I alone organized my departure," he said. "My family played no role." The statement came as both Japan and Turkey began investigations into the escape.
(Carole Ghosn called her husband's escape the "best gift of my life.")

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