Thursday, January 2, 2020

Nissan Chief Carlos Ghosn smuggled out of Japan !


Masujiro Hashimoto founded the Kaishinsha Motor Car Works in July 1911. In 1914, the company produced its first car, called DAT. Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. usually shortened to Nissan is a Japanese multinational automobile manufacturer headquartered in Nishi-ku, Yokohama. The company sells its cars under the Nissan, Infiniti, and Datsun brands.

The season of Margazhi is associated with music – in every nuke and corner of Chennai, there are music concerts.  Vocal music accompanied by instruments – mostly nadaswaram mridungam and violin.  Veena and Violin are associated with Carnatic, while Guitar, bass drum and the like with Western – could be mere perceptions.  Violin and Guitar are both stringed instruments.  In terms of texture and timbre, the violin and the guitar are natural allies, more natural in some ways than the far more frequently heard combinations of say ‘nadaswaram thavil’ ‘violin piano’.  Do you know ‘Luthier’ -  a  luthier builds and repairs string instruments that have a neck and a sound box. The word "luthier" is originally French and comes from the French word for lute.

Perhaps none would ever have thought of a connection with an automobile with a stringed instrument.  Former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn was smuggled out of Japan while under house arrest by hiding in a musical instrument case in a plan masterminded by his wife, a Lebanese TV news channel claims.  The 65-year-old reportedly dodged police surveillance at his Tokyo home with the help of a team of ex-special forces soldiers disguised as a Gregorian music band. He was then flown to Beirut via Turkey on Monday where he was joined by his Lebanese wife Carole who is said to have coordinated the elaborate escape plot.

Ghosn, who holds French, Brazilian and Lebanese passports, said in a statement that he fled to 'escape injustice' in Japan, where he was on bail facing financial misconduct charges. Strict conditions of his £10.5m bail included being prevented from seeing his wife without the permission of the court and for the past seven months they have been unable to speak to each other at all.

Lebanese news channel MTV reported that a 'paramilitary group' had posed as musicians hired to perform at Ghosn's home, believed to be a £2.7million penthouse apartment, during a dinner party.  Carlos Ghosn was 'smuggled out of Japan' in a plot allegedly masterminded by his wife Carole.   Ghosn is accused of using £14million of Nissan cash to buy homes in Paris, Beirut, Rio de Janeiro and Amsterdam. Ghosn is said to have flown from Tokyo to Beirut via Istanbul in Turkey after being 'smuggled' out of his home in a musical instrument case ! The full details are not known, but there was speculation that 5ft 6in Ghosn squeezed himself into a 6ft long double bass case at the end of the performance. He was then taken to a small local airport and flown to Istanbul, in Turkey, in a private plane, MTV said. From there it is believed he boarded a Bombardier Challenger private jet to Beirut-Rafic Hariri international airport where it landed shortly after 4am on Monday, according to plane tracking site FlightRadar.


Ricardo Karam, a Lebanese television host and friend of Ghosn, said: 'He is home. It's a big adventure.' MTV reported: 'The band entered his home in Japan under the guise of a band for a Gregorian dinner, then returned and exited after the party's logical time had passed. 'The Japanese authorities did not know at the time that Carlos Ghosn had hidden in one of the boxes intended for the transfer of musical instruments, and then left the country through a local airport.' The claims were swiftly picked up by media outlets around the world but were denied by a member of his entourage.

The auto tycoon's abrupt departure was the latest twist in a rollercoaster journey that saw him fall from boardroom to detention centre and it sparked questions over an embarrassing security lapse in Japan. His bail conditions barred him from exiting the country he had been held in since his sudden arrest in November 2018 sent shockwaves through the business world. He and his lawyers have repeatedly voiced fears a fair trial would be impossible in Japan and have called for the case to be thrown out, citing missteps by the prosecutors' office.  Yet - 'I have not fled justice - I have escaped injustice and political persecution,' said Ghosn.

Born in Brazil of Lebanese ancestry, Ghosn grew up in Beirut and has retained close ties to Lebanon.  French junior economy minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said on Tuesday that she was 'very surprised' by news that Carlos Ghosn had left Japan and flown to Lebanon, adding she had heard of it via the media. Pannier-Runacher also told France Inter radio that, regarding Ghosn, no-one was above the law but Ghosn would be able to get French consular support as a French citizen.  Many Lebanese view Ghosn as a symbol of their country's large diaspora, and a prime example of Lebanese entrepreneurial genius and have been shocked by his arrest.  But in Tokyo, the unexpected turn of events will spark questions about how he could apparently have given authorities the slip. His Japanese lawyer Junichiro Hironaka said he was 'dumbfounded' by the news and confirmed that lawyers were still in possession of Ghosn's passports.

Earlier, Prosecutors stormed his private jet in scenes captured by a local paper, and whisked him off to a Tokyo detention centre where he spent more than 100 days in spartan conditions far removed from his sometimes extravagant lifestyle. He eventually won bail, striding out of the detention centre disguised in a workman's uniform complete with mask and cap in an apparent bid to fool the world's media camped outside. Then one morning in April, he was rearrested on another set of charges just days before he was due to give a hotly anticipated news conference. He released a video apparently pre-recorded in which he accused 'backstabbing' Nissan executives of a 'conspiracy'. He stands accused of two counts of under-reporting his salary to the tune of 9.23 billion yen ($85 million) from 2010 to 2018, deferring some of his pay and failing to declare this to shareholders. Prosecutors also allege he attempted to get Nissan to cover around 1.85 billion yen in personal foreign exchange losses during the 2008 financial crisis. The fourth charge against him is that he allegedly transferred millions from Nissan funds to a dealership in Oman, from which the executive supposedly skimmed off $5 million for his personal use.

In the meantime, Ghosn has lost the business empire he was once lauded for creating. Sacked from Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors, he resigned from Renault - the third firm in the uneasy car alliance he forged ~ and his fleeing should only add to the criminal charges, though he has firmly escaped the crutches of law where his crimes were being tried.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
2nd Jan 2019.

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