TOKYO — On December 29, former Nissan, Renault boss Carlos Ghosn, who was under house arrest facing charges of diverting millions in company funds for his personal use, walked out of his house in Tokyo wearing a hat and a surgical mask in plain view of security cameras.
Bloomberg reports that police surveillance was lax during the holidays and that Ghosn's lawyers had filed a legal complaint that prevented Nissan's hired agents from following him.
Ghosn claims he would not have received a fair trial in Japan, where 99 percent of those accused of a crime are convicted.
Citing Japan's NTV, Bloomberg reports that Ghosn boarded a bullet train in Tokyo and arrived at Osaka at about 4:30 pm.
He then called a cab to a hotel near Kansai International Airport.
Citing sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports that Ghosn apparently evaded security by hiding in a case that was too big to be scanned by the airport's X-ray machines.
Earlier, Ghosn's alleged accomplices had flown in on a Bombardier Global Express Jet with the case.
Ghosn would use both in his escape.
According to Bloomberg, Ghosn was aided by U.S. contractor and ex-Special Forces veteran Michael Taylor in his flight.
At 11 p.m., the Bombardier Global Express took off and headed for Istanbul with Ghosn on board.
Bloomberg reports that Ghosn's alleged rescuers carefully plotted the flight to avoid countries with extradition treaties with Japan such as South Korea and instead flew through Russian airspace.
Russia was viewed as more friendly territory as Ghosn is credited with saving the ailing automaker AvtoVAZ, which he brought in to the Renault-Nissan Alliance's fold.
The jet landed at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport at around 5:00 a.m.
After that, Ghosn would again secrete himself as cargo in the box before boarding a smaller Bombardier that would take him to Beirut.
In addition to Brazlian and Lebanese passports, Ghosn has two French passports.
One was taken by the Japanese authorities and another kept by his lawyer as a condition of his bail but stored in a flimsy box that could be broken easily with a tool.
However Reuters reports the French government denies Ghosn used the nation's passport.
Citing a Lebanese judiciary official, Reuters reports that Lebanon has received a request to extradite Ghosn from Japan, not Interpol.
Bloomberg reports that Ghosn entered Lebanon legally, where extradition of citizens is denied as a matter of policy.