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Carlos Ghosn Japan escape team told authorities they worked with Michael Jackson

Published: Updated:

The two Americans who helped former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn escape Japan told authorities at the airport that they were musicians who had worked with the late singer Michael Jackson, Ghosn said on the Lebanese podcast Sarde After Dinner on Sunday.

“They told the authorities that they had music instruments in the box that were regulated for a concert as soon as they land and if the instrument were to pass through the scanner it would have delayed their performance in Turkey,” he added.

“[If the escape] was classical, it would have not worked, it worked because it was gutsy, I don’t talk about the story, because I don’t want to put any people who helped me at risk, I had to be something no one thought I would dare to try,” Ghosn added.

He said that the odds of escaping from Japan were very low.

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Ghosn attracted international attention after he fled Japan in December 2019. Japanese prosecutors were investigating him for financial irregularities while CEO of Nissan. Despite being under strict surveillance by the authorities, Ghosn was later smuggled out of the country inside a box intended to transfer musical instruments.

The podcast episode was removed the next day at the request of the producers of “Carlos Ghosn: The Last Flight”, an exclusive documentary by MBC Group’s Shahid Video on Demand Service.

The podcast platform released a statement adding that they have agreed to run their latest episode with Carlos Ghosn at the same time as the release of the documentary on July 8 due to his contractual obligations with BBC and Shahid.

The highly anticipated feature documentary will debut on Shahid VIP.

The documentary is a first and exclusive joint production by MBC Studios, the production arm of MBC Group and the France-based international production house, ALEF ONE – Carlos Ghosn: The Last Flight showcases the full story of Ghosn, the former CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

Carlos Ghosn: The Last Flight showcases the full story of Ghosn, the former CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. (Offiial film poster)
Carlos Ghosn: The Last Flight showcases the full story of Ghosn, the former CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. (Offiial film poster)

The documentary was filmed across locations in Lebanon, France, Japan, England and South Africa.

Ghosn added during the podcast that he was under house arrest, and he had to take an authorization from the judge if he wanted to leave the house for three or four days.

“We chose Osaka airport because it was a minor airport, so the security would definitely be less solid that any major airport like in Tokyo,” Ghosn added.

Ghosn also said that the timing of the escape in December was well-planned, as it is the time when most airport employees are on annual leave, and thus those replacing them would be less familiar with the security protocols of the airport.

The ex-Nissan boss claimed that he would not have had a fair trial because the prosecution wins 99 percent of its cases in Japan.

“I was thinking of retiring in 2018, I was preparing since 2015 for my retirement, I prepared a house in Beirut, I was repairing it, Lebanon is [the] only common thing with my wife. People said that I am in Lebanon because the judiciary is corrupt, that is not true,” Ghosn added.

The two Americans who aided Ghosn in his escape from Japan to safety in Lebanon said that helping him was a mistake, and that they deeply regretted it.

“I helped Carlos Ghosn escape from Japan during his bail period. I deeply regret my actions and sincerely apologize for causing difficulties for the judicial process and for the Japanese people,” Michael Taylor, one of the two Americans, said.

At a hearing two weeks ago, Michael and his son Peter agreed to prosecutors’ assertions that they helped Ghosn escape the country at the end of 2019.

They were extradited to Japan from the US earlier this year and face a maximum prison sentence of three years for harboring a criminal and enabling him to escape.

Read more:

Carlos Ghosn in interview says prepared for lengthy fight to clear his name

French judges to question Carlos Ghosn in Beirut

American tells Tokyo court he regrets helping Carlos Ghosn flee