MNG Jet employee ‘acted alone’ in arranging Ghosn’s flight from Japan

Alud Davies
By Alud Davies January 3, 2020 12:18

MNG Jet employee ‘acted alone’ in arranging Ghosn’s flight from Japan

Turkish private jet operator MNG Jet says that one of its employees acted alone in arranging use of the company’s aircraft to aid the escape of Carlos Ghosn from Japan.

Ghosn, of Lebanese origins, had been in charge of Japanese car manufacturer Nissan but was ousted after allegations that he had been hiding income and misappropriating funds for his own benefit. Ghosn has denied the allegations.

He had been released on bail in Japan and under house arrest in Tokyo whilst awaiting trial but had escaped Japan and fled to Beirut through Istanbul over the new year.

In a plot twist worthy of a Hollywood movie, Lebanese news media MTV reports that Ghosn was smuggled out of his Tokyo home in a box designed to carry musical instruments. Several members of a private security firm had disguised themselves as musicians due to play a concert in Ghosn’s home, and at the end of the night packed him into a box and smuggled him out.

He was then taken to Osaka, where waiting Bombardier Global Express TC-TSR operated by Turkish company MNG Jet flew him directly to Istanbul. From there he changed planes onto a smaller Bombardier Challenger 300 TC-RZA, also operated by MNG Jet, and flew onwards to Beirut.

Directly to Instanbul

Bloomberg quotes a person close to the investigation who did not want to be named saying that Ghosan was transferred between the two separate flights in a box.

It a statement posted on its website, MNG Jet says that the two charters were booked independently, with one flight operating from Dubai to Osaka and then to Istanbul, and the second from Istanbul to Beirut. The company says that there did not appear to be any connection between the two flights.

According to trip support company Universal Aviation, the process of operating a charter flight into or out Japan, requires applying for a permit in advance, a process that takes a minimum of 24 hours to grant.

As well as submitting details of the aircraft and flight routing, aircraft operators are also required to submit a full passenger manifest, with the full names and nationalities of every person on the flight.

MNG Jet says that Ghosn’s name did not appear in the official documentation that was submitted to the Japanese authorities for either of the two flights he took.
‘Prosecute those who were involved’

“After having learnt through the media that the leasing was benefitting Mr. Ghosn and not the officially declared passengers, MNG Jet launched an internal inquiry and filed a criminal complaint in Turkey on Wednesday 1 January 2020 to prosecute those who were involved.” says MNG Jet in a statement on its website. “One employee of the company, who is under investigation by the authorities, has admitted having falsified the records. He confirmed that he acted in his individual capacity, without the knowledge or the authorisation of the management of MNG Jet.”

Turkish authorities arrested seven people in connection with Ghosan’s escape during the morning of January 2. As well as four pilots, two ground workers and a cargo worker were also detained.

In a statement issued from Beirut, Ghosan says that he did not escape justice, rather that he was escaping injustice, adding that he is now able to “communicate freely with the media”.

In a statement, posted on Twitter Ghosn said: “There has been speculation in the media that my wife Carole, and other members of my family played a role in my departure from Japan. All such speculation is inaccurate and false. I alone arranged for my departure. My family had no role whatsoever.”

Ghosn was appointed chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance in 2002.

Alud Davies
By Alud Davies January 3, 2020 12:18

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