The former Nissan chief’s shocking escape from Japan does his plea for justice no good
The holiday season didn’t bring good tidings for Japanese authorities investigating former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn for financial misconduct. On Monday, they found Ghosn gone, having fled his Tokyo home, giving the slip to heavy manned and video surveillance. Once the toast of the automotive industry and held in high regard in Japan, Ghosn fell from grace when news of alleged financial misconduct broke in 2017; he was arrested in November 2018 upon his return to Japan from Lebanon, where he has now surfaced. While there is no watertight account of how Ghosn managed to pull off one of the sensational escape, Lebanese media reports are pinning it to a large musical case of the Gregorian band that performed at his house in Tokyo and flights from Japan to Istanbul and onwards to Beirut, and the French media is speculating on forged passports and complicity of Japanese officials. Whatever be the modus operandi, many media outlets concur that it was likely orchestrated by Ghosn’s wife, Carole, who had earlier complained that Japanese authorities had denied her any access to, or communication with her husband.
Ghosn says he has escaped injustice and political persecution—to the shock of his defence team in Japan. While Japanese law heavily favours the prosecution, the fact that Ghosn, despite the outrage that followed the news of his alleged financial misconduct breaking, had made bail twice shows he may not be able to successfully argue his case for fleeing justice. More so, since he had professed faith in the due process, saying it would eventually prove his innocence. What l’affaire Ghosn—and les affaires Andersen, Mallya, and others—shows is that, sometimes, money can outsmart justice.