Carlos Ghosn's escape jet from Japan used illegally, operator MNG says

Carlos Ghosn's residence in Tokyo. Ghosn, who was under house arrest in Japan, flew to Beirut on a private jet via Turkey on Dec 30, 2019.
Carlos Ghosn's residence in Tokyo. Ghosn, who was under house arrest in Japan, flew to Beirut on a private jet via Turkey on Dec 30, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

ANKARA (BLOOMBERG) - The private jet that transported Carlos Ghosn from Japan to Beirut was deployed illegally using falsified records that didn't mention the former Nissan Motor executive as a passenger, the aircraft's operator said.

MNG Jet Havacilik AS said in a statement that it filed a criminal complaint on Jan 1 about what it said was "the illegal use of its jet charter services".

One company employee, who is being investigated by authorities, has admitted to falsifying records and acted alone, MNG said.

Turkish authorities have detained seven people, including four pilots, as part of a probe into private jet flights that appear to have carried Ghosn.

MNG Jet confirmed that it leased a pair of aicraft to two different clients in December, with one to fly from Dubai to Osaka and then to Istanbul, while the other was scheduled from Istanbul to Beirut.

"The two leases were seemingly not connected to each other," Mr Cem Sasmaz, general manager of MNG Jet, said on the company's website on Friday (Jan 3).

"The name of Mr Ghosn did not appear in the official documentation of any of the flights. The jets did not belong to but were operated by MNG Jet."

The former automotive executive was facing trial for alleged financial crimes and was under house arrest in Japan. He was flown to Istanbul this week and then to the capital of Lebanon, where Ghosn has citizenship.

How he managed his escape from close observation remains a mystery. Ghosn said in a statement on Thursday that his family played no role in aiding his flight, and that he alone organised his departure from the country.

 

Ghosn was transferred between the two jets inside a box, a Turkish official said, asking not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.