Let’s start the year with an extraordinarily weird music story: The great escape of Carlos Ghosn

It has not been a good spell for Carlos Ghosn. He went from being one of the most important businessmen in Japan as the CEO of Nissan and Mitsubishi to disgraced executive charged with all sort of financial malfeasance.

Like what? Using millions in company funds to buy homes in Paris, Amsterdam, Rio and (crucially, as we shall see) Beirut.

Ghosn was first arrested in November 2018. He did make bail–US$13.8 billion–with the requirement that he stay in Japan until his trial in 2020. Ruled a major flight risk, his three passports (French, Brazilian, and Lebanese) were confiscated. And not only that, but he was under constant surveillance. He couldn’t leave Tokyo home to buy a newspaper without someone knowing about it.

That, apparently, was unacceptable. Ghosn decided he had to get out of Japan. But how? Here’s what we think happened.

Just after Christmas (December 27), Ghosn hosted a party in his Tokyo apartment. The evening featured a band performing Gregorian music. The musicians, however, were in fact part of a paramilitary group hired to spirit him out of the country.

At some point in the evening, Ghosn got into either a big music case or a case used by a double bass. At just 5-foot-six, he’d easily fit.

He was then flown from a small local airport in Tokyo to Istanbul in a private plane. Then then transferred to another private jet and flown into Beirut.

He’s since resurfaced and says he’ll be speaking at length to the media soon.

Read more here and here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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