about 6 months ago
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You read the story of Carlos Ghosn and you cannot help but think about ‘Alibaba and the forty thieves.’

In the Arabian Tale, Alibaba escapes in the oil barrel from where he was held captive and Ghosn, it seems escaped siting in a 6-feet long musical instrument box.

Ghosn –who looks a lot like Mr.Bean, has an escape story which is most certainly an over-the-top Hollywood movie kind. Though Ghosn said his family did not know about this, it is said that he and his wife had planned this escape for months. Under house arrest in Osaka, with 24-hours CCTV surveillance, he had invited a band of Gregorian musicians to perform. At the end of their performance, as the musicians were packing stuff, Ghosn, whose height is a little under 5ft 6 inches, slipped quietly into one of the larger cases. From there he was taken to a small local airport. He boarded a private jet in which he was whisked away to first Istanbul and from there, he changed planes and took flight to Lebanon, his ancestral home country. He is said to have arrived there Monday morning.

Lebanon will be his safest place because he is a poster boy for the country. He was born in Brazil to Lebanese parents. He lived in Lebanon for six years and then moved to France. When Ghosn was arrested in Japan in 2018, in Beirut, billboards went up all over in his support, saying, “We are all Carlos Ghosn”.

This is a huge embarrassment for Japan because despite a 24-hour surveillance and keeping hold of Ghosn’s three passports – Brazilian, French and Lebanese, he managed to escape in this daring way. Lebanon has no extradition treaty with Japan, meaning it is very unlikely Ghosn will be forced to return. This very much means the trial will now never happen in Japan.

Ghosn might have made the headlines for his daring escape but the fact remains that this ex-boss of Mitsubishi, Renault and Nissan is today an international fugitive. Just like our very own Nirav Modi and Mallya. But there is no Interpol notice on them like Ghosn.

Ghosn is in this mess because he under-reported his earnings and used official assets for his personal use. We in India cannot help but say, “that’s all?” because this is so very common here. Modi and Mallya would not even been called a thief if they did what Ghosn did; they were worse as they defrauded banks and scooted with bags of illegal money.

What Ghosn’s escape story tells us is that if you have a lot of money, sometimes, you can buy your freedom. This kind of international escape plan could not have happened but for his astounding wealth. He is a bail jumper but thanks to his money power, he can so easily evade justice. Ghosn said that the Japanese justice system was ‘rigged’. Maybe it is but what is an undeniable truth is that there was financial misappropriation.

Ghosn’s escape underlines the truth that when these wealthy honchos get caught, they know exactly how to circumvent justice systems. Nirav Modi, Mallya and Ghosn are not deadly criminals but they are robbers who have the wherewithal to outwit and beat the system where cash in the only king. Well, the biopic on Ghosn is sure to become a top grosser!

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