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Ghosn illegally used jets to escape Japan, Turkish plane operator says

MNG Jet says its planes were illegally deployed and official documentation for the flights was falsified
Ghosn, left, said he would not be "held hostage" for an upcoming trial in a "rigged Japanese justice system" (AFP)
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Ankara

The private jets utilised by former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn to escape Japan were illegally deployed and official documentation for the flights was falsified, the Turkish operator of the planes, MNG Jet, said on Friday.

The company said that it had leased two separate private jets to two different clients last month, one from Dubai to Osaka and Osaka to Istanbul, and another plane from Istanbul to Beirut.

“The two leases were seemingly not connected to each other. The name of Mr Ghosn did not appear in the official documentation of any of the flights,” the company said.

MNG Jet said it had filed a criminal complaint regarding the incident following its own inquiry which established that the leasing had aided Ghosn's escape.

“One employee of the company, who is under investigation by the authorities, has admitted having falsified the records," the statement added.

“He confirmed that he acted in his individual capacity, without the knowledge or the authorisation of the management of MNG Jet.”

Houdini-like escape

Ghosn, 65, made his dramatic escape earlier this week, explaining after he arrived in Lebanon that he would not be "held hostage" for an upcoming trial in a "rigged Japanese justice system".

He faces four charges, including hiding income and enriching himself through payments to car dealerships in the Middle East. He has denied the charges.

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Istanbul police detained seven individuals on Thursday, among them four pilots, a manager for a cargo firm, and two workers for a ground servicing company at Ataturk Airport where Ghosn landed before heading to Beirut.

The Turkish interior ministry also assigned two civil and one police inspector to investigate the incident.

Lebanon on Thursday received an Interpol arrest warrant for Ghosn, whose surprise escape from his home in Tokyo to a separate home in Beirut has not been fully explained.

Some Lebanese media have floated a Houdini-like account of Ghosn being packed in a wooden container for musical instruments after a private concert in his home, but his wife has called the account "fiction".