The ex-auto boss Carlos Ghosn is said to have left Japan in a box at the end of 2019. For that he needed helpers. Two suspects have now been caught in the United States.
Washington (dpa) - Two men have been arrested in the United States, who are said to have helped the former auto boss Carlos Ghosn on his spectacular escape from Japan.
The 27 and 59-year-old men were temporarily arrested in Harvard, Massachusetts, for the risk of fleeing for extradition to Japan, Justice Department spokeswoman Nicole Navas said on request.
Michael and Peter T., who are father and son, are charged in Japan for allegedly helping Ghosn to leave the country. They were due to be videoconferenced to a judge on Wednesday in Boston, the spokeswoman said. In addition to the two arrested, there is another alleged escape helper in the case.
The former CEO of the Franco-Japanese car alliance Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi was arrested and charged in Tokyo on November 19, 2018, among other things, for violating stock exchange requirements. In April 2019, he was released on bail under strict conditions on bail. Ghosn then fled to Beirut in a private jet at the end of December under adventurous circumstances and in violation of the bail requirements. It is said to have been hidden in a box that was declared at the airport as luggage for musical instruments and was not screened.
The Massachusetts court documents, citing authorities in Japan, indicate that the operation was planned to take several months. The investigation had revealed that the 27-year-old suspect had traveled to Japan several times in the months before Ghosn's escape to meet the ex-manager. Peter T. then checked in at a hotel in Tokyo on December 28, where he met Ghosn again. The next day - on the day of the escape - Michael T. and another alleged accomplice arrived in Japan - with two large black boxes, as the court documents say. The two suspects pretended to be musicians and checked in at a hotel at the airport in Osaka.
While Michael T. and the other suspect were making their way to Tokyo, Ghosn left his house without luggage and made his way to the hotel where Peter T. had previously checked in. Later all four men would have left the hotel together. Peter T. took a flight to China while Ghosn and the other two alleged escape helpers drove to the hotel in Osaka. However, only two men left the accommodation in the evening - with luggage and including the black boxes. Ghosn was nowhere to be seen.
Investigators assume that Ghosn was hiding in one of the boxes and escaped airport control. Then it should have gone to Turkey by private jet. On December 31, Ghosn made a statement from Lebanon and scourged Japan in an angry speech. He rejected all allegations and spoke of a conspiracy against him. In addition to French, Ghosn also has Lebanese and Brazilian citizenship. Japan is trying to deliver the former former auto boss to the Lebanese leadership. Japan has an extradition agreement with the United States - but not with Lebanon. However, the authorities there imposed an exit ban on him in January.
Court document on Michael T.
Court document on Peter T.