It’s only the first full week of 2020, but this may be the most awesomest story of the year. Now, I don’t know if “awesomest” is a real word, but for this story it deserves to be one.
The only reason why more people are unaware of this crazy true tale of international intrigue is that the main character looks like Mr. Bean, has a weird accent and has been serving as a CEO in Japan.
Carlos Ghosn was for the majority of his storied career a rock-star automotive executive and CEO. His last gig was running the largest carmaker in the world. He was rich and famous within the auto industry. Then, it all came crashing down. Ghosn was accused of helping himself to millions of dollars from the car company he ran. Evidently, the board of directors, regulators and law enforcement look down upon alleged financial self-dealings and inappropriate grubbing of money that belongs to the company and shareholders.
Ghosn was arrested on several different occasions and ended up in a Tokyo jail. Japan has a no-nonsense approach to people accused of crimes. Their conviction rate is literally 99%. Ghosn, who was accustomed to mansions, yachts, boardrooms and people tending to his every needs and demands, was not too happy. He vehemently denied all of the charges leveled against him. Unfortunately, the Japanese prosecutors, looking to keep up their nearly perfect batting average, kept him locked in a jail cell and continued to interrogate him in pursuit of a confession (which did not happen).
If you’re worth over $100 million, you’re not going to put up with this shabby treatment, right? So, Ghosn allegedly coordinated with his wife, green berets, some mercenaires, pilots and others to get him the hell out of Japan.
While under house arrest (because rich guys get all the breaks), Ghosn held a little soiree at his apartment that involved some music. He was put into a big bass case that was brought by the band, whisked to Turkey in a private jet, then routed to his native country of Lebanon. It just so happens that Lebanon does not have an extradition treaty with Japan and there he is regarded as a hero, the kind of “local kid does well”—except for the whole alleged “stealing money from his company” thing. But hey, who doesn’t do that nowadays?
This week, Ghosn spoke for over two hours with the press to tell his side of the story. He angrily asserted his innocence and awesomeness as a CEO, and that everyone else is stupid and out to get him.
Interpol, the international version of America’s CIA, has a warrant out for his arrest and Lebanon imposed a travel ban on him.
We will keep you posted as this saga continues.