Carlos Ghosn fled Japan using a 2nd French passport that the courts let him keep, reports say

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FILE - In this April 3, 2019, file photo, former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn, center, leaves his lawyer's office in Tokyo. Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa has apologized to shareholders for the unfolding scandal at the Japanese automaker and asked for their approval to oust from the board former Chairman Ghosn, who has been arrested on financial misconduct charges. Saikawa and other Nissan Motor Co. executives bowed deeply at a Tokyo hotel Monday, April 8, 2019, where the extraordinary shareholders' meeting was being held. (Sadayuki Goto/Kyodo News via AP, File)
FILE - In this April 3, 2019, file photo, former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn, center, leaves his lawyer's office in Tokyo. Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa has apologized to shareholders for the unfolding scandal at the Japanese automaker and asked for their approval to oust from the board former Chairman Ghosn, who has been arrested on financial misconduct charges. Saikawa and other Nissan Motor Co. executives bowed deeply at a Tokyo hotel Monday, April 8, 2019, where the extraordinary shareholders' meeting was being held. (Sadayuki Goto/Kyodo News via AP, File)

Associated Press

  • The former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn reportedly used a second French passport during his high-stakes escape from Japan to Lebanon on Sunday.

  • Ghosn surrendered his four passports to authorities in November 2018 when he was arrested: one Brazilian, one Lebanese, and two French.

  • But prosecutors let Ghosn access one French passport in May to use internally in Japan, the AFP news agency and the Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported. 

  • Ghosn was set to stand trial in Tokyo in April on charges of financial misconduct. He was accused of hiding $80 million in payments from Nissan.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn used a second French passport to escape Japan for Lebanon on Sunday, according to reports.

Ghosn arrived in Beirut on Monday, despite surrendering his four passports — two French, one Lebanese, and one Brazilian — to Japanese authorities upon his arrest in November 2018.

Despite taking possession of the documents, Japan's courts allowed Ghosn to access the second French passport in May 2019 for use inside Japan, Agency France Press (AFP) reported, citing a source.

"He had to keep this passport" to prove his short-stay status, the source said. They also said "There was permission from the court."

Until the AFP report was published, many assumed Ghosn had managed to leave Japan without a passport.

He was scheduled to stand trial in Tokyo in April on charges of financial misconduct following his arrest in November 2018. He was accused of hiding $80 million in payments from Nissan.

The Japanese government is yet to issue any official statement on his escape.

Carlos Ghosn in Beirut, Lebanon house
Carlos Ghosn in Beirut, Lebanon house

REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Japan's public broadcaster NHK also reported that Ghosn had access to a second passport on Thursday, citing unnamed sources.

"The court allowed Ghosn to carry one of the two French passports with him in a locked case," NHK said.

Ghosn was banned from traveling abroad as part of his $13 million bail agreement. That bail agreement has now been revoked in light of his escape, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

Carlos Ghosn home Beirut
Carlos Ghosn home Beirut

Jacob Russell/Getty Images

Ghosn is said to have used a private jet to flee from Kansai Airport in western Japan to Istanbul on Sunday at 11 p.m. local time. He then travelled by a second plane to Beirut, Reuters reported, using his French passport at customs.

Ghosn concealed himself inside a musical instrument case during the escape, Lebanon's MTV news reported, though Ghosn's wife Carole has described that detail as "fiction."

Ghosn said in a statement carried by AFP on Thursday that he "will no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system."

FILE PHOTO: Former Nissan Motor Chariman Carlos Ghosn leaves the Tokyo Detention House in Tokyo, Japan April 25, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Former Nissan Motor Chariman Carlos Ghosn leaves the Tokyo Detention House in Tokyo, Japan April 25, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

Reuters

"I am now in Lebanon… I have not fled justice — I have escaped injustice and political persecution," the statement said.

Citing unnamed sources, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the escape "followed weeks of planning by associates," including "accomplices in Japan."

Japanese prosecutors raided Ghosn's home in Japan on Thursday following his escape.

The Lebanese General Security Directorate said in a statement that it will not prosecute him for coming to the country.

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