Apparently wrapped in a musical instrument case, ex-Nissan / Renault president fled bail in Beirut

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According to the first reports from Beirut, the troubled ex-Nissan / Renault president Carlos Ghosn fled his Japanese bail by cramming into a large musical instrument case in possession of what has been described as group of “Gregorian musicians”, who had apparently been authorized to perform in his residence. It is doubtful that they were musicians, but they remained inside the house for the approximate length of an engagement before packing their bags to leave. He left his residence, however, in a spectacularly long court case in Japan involving multiple jails and a hotly contested bail deal, the meticulously planned exfiltration was a daring and most flamboyant bloom.

One of the conditions of the deposit was 24/7 video surveillance and the residence was reportedly under strict surveillance. It is not known at this point how and when exactly, inside the house, the former small-sized (5-foot-6) car executive rushed out of the house – in the holster of the musical instrument, if he did. is widely considered to be an integral part of exfiltration, has since argued that it did not happen that way.But it should be noted in passing that among the largest human-sized musical instrument cases are those for the double bass. A size 7/8 classic double bass is approximately 75 inches long, or 6’3 “- its properly padded hard case would be several inches longer.

Perhaps the biggest mystery is how Ghosn boarded the waiting plane, whether in or out of an instrument case. Japanese authorities said there was no record of Ghosn leaving Japan, suggesting he must have been ghosted by customs and terminal security towards the airside, again, in the putative instrument housing or outside. There are only two possibilities: either he has undergone some form of examination, or he has evaded it.

To get around customs and the safety of his own feet, out of the instrument case, Ghosn would have demanded (presumably forged) some local ID allowing access to the tarmac, or at least some loophole in that system’s system. airport that his security team could exploit to gain access to the lightly armored tarmac. If his team’s plan called for it to be loaded inside the instrument case, the case would theoretically still have undergone a cursory inspection as would all carry-on or hold baggage, whether it is a simple visual inspection by a human, traces of explosive residue, or some form of irradiated sweep. Which would have been a watershed moment for Team Ghosn, if it had happened.

It is not yet clear how they got through the hurdles of scrutiny, but it is fair to say that the local airport would have been researched and chosen for a less invasive security posture. Expressed numerically, if a security regime at airport A is three to five percent less stringent than the security regime at airport B, by scaling their operation to first, an exfil team can convert that amount of defensive thinking and planning in offensive operation. real obstacles in their path. This increases their chances of success.

In Beirut, a once divided city in which many famous kidnappings, infiltrations and exfiltrations have taken place, it has been confirmed that Ghosn is locked up with his wife in a house in Achrafiyeh, one of Beirut’s more affluent neighborhoods in l east of Hamra and upstream from the city center. The house is a graceful and well-maintained French colonial townhouse, and it has been reported, although not confirmed, that he owns it. Ghosn enjoys popular support in Lebanon, with “Free Carlos Ghosn” billboards appearing around Beirut last year. Significantly, Lebanon does not have an extradition treaty with Japan.

In general, Ghosn’s bail conditions were seen by some as unnecessarily punitive, certainly by Ghosn himself, who has regularly criticized what he sees as the political aspects of the case. As part of these bail conditions, his three passports – Brazilian, Lebanese and French – had been handed over to his Japanese lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka, who seemed as baffled as everyone by the exfiltration. Japanese broadcaster NHK slightly contradicts these details, saying the Japanese government allowed Ghosn’s lawyer to keep only a second French passport under lock and key. Whether Ghosn had three or four passports, Hironaka last saw his client on Christmas Day and, at the attorney’s press conference on December 31, he said he still had Ghosn’s passports. , in the plural, in his possession.

Which raises several questions about Ghosn’s current travel documents. There were two private flights involved in the escape, the first of which departed from what is described as a “local airport” not far from his residence. This pending private jet transported him from Tokyo to Istanbul, where he boarded a second private jet, a Bombardier, which flew him back to Beirut on that final jump. He could have breathed a little easier once out of Japanese airspace, but a question remains about the need for a transfer to Istanbul, since, on a westerly flight path from Tokyo, the essentially, the plane should have flown over Beirut. .

And the answer would be: a tip of the hat to the planners of this vast operation. A one-way flight plan to Istanbul does not necessarily raise many immigration issues. But if you file a flight plan from Tokyo to Beirut on December 30, and there is a prominent and outraged Lebanese citizen (with real estate in the stated destination, Beirut) in Japanese custody who has made the The subject of headlines for months on end, these settings stand a chance to signal the need for a more in-depth inspection of any plane bound for Beirut, its passenger manifesto, and its contents. Ergo: Ghosn’s team would like to “wash” the route of his plane with a clean destination (from a Japanese customs point of view).

According to Flight Radar, the Bombardier bound for Beirut arrived at Rafik Hariri International just south of Beirut at 4:16 a.m. on December 31. Officials from the Lebanese Foreign Ministry said Ghosn arrived “normally” and was processed by Beirut customs on a French passport. He also allegedly held up what is known as a Lebanese identity card upon entering the country. The only thing that seems certain is that at some point before the transfer from Istanbul, Ghosn was indeed taken out of the musical instrument case for these presentations.

Taken together, the scope, high risk, and success of the operation suggest professional involvement. Many places are teeming with such expertise, but the civil war that lasted 15 years in Beirut and the constant engagement of several intelligence services in Beirut as a gateway to the Middle East, not to mention as gateway to the Syrian civil war, means that there is much of the underground skills on offer in town.

There will be a lot more to come in the coming days about Ghosn’s daring leap from custody and its shattering effect on his case in Japan, including the fate of all the remaining assets he has put in place to satisfy. to the bail requirement. But if, as rumored, Ghosn’s wife, Carole, turns out to be the true author of this laudable and laudable operation, then prosecutors and the Japanese justice system will not have recognized that, despite the obstacles apparently important put in its way, such as the ban on contact between the couple for months, Carole Ghosn has found her way back to her husband.

A supposed concert of “musicians”, a putative travel suitcase the size of a man for what is believed to have been a large musical instrument, two private planes, two groups of pilots and no conspicuous travel documents until ‘to that well out of the hostile host country – the architecture of Ghosn’s exfiltration is of the highest quality. A friend of Ghosn’s in Beirut summed it up to the press, simply saying: “It’s a great adventure.

From Beirut, through one of his lawyers, Ghosn announced a press conference for Wednesday, January 8.


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