Toyko: Life on the run is proving expensive for Carlos Ghosn.
The cost of his escape included $14 million in forfeited bail money while the operation that saw him celebrate New Year’s Eve in Beirut could have cost $15 million or more.
That includes $350,000 for the private jet that spirited the former auto executive from Osaka to Istanbul and millions of dollars for his multicountry extraction that would have taken a team of as many as 25 people half a year to plan, according to a private security expert who said he wasn’t involved and asked not to be identified given the nature of the operation.
Such outflows have seen Ghosn’s fortune shrink by 40% since he was arrested more than a year ago at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, according to estimates by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
His fortune is now calculated to be about $70 million, down from around $120 million at the time of his first court appearance a year ago.
In fiery, freewheeling form at a two-and-a-half hour press conference in Beirut on Wednesday, Ghosn, 65, repeatedly proclaimed his innocence against allegations he understated his income and raided corporate resources for personal gain, accused Japanese prosecutors, government officials and Nissan Motor Co. executives of conspiring to topple him, and insisted he would clear his name.
“You can expect me in the next weeks to take some initiatives to tell you how I’m going to clear my name.”
That might include a tell-all book.
Ghosn plans to publish the story of his arrest, according to a report by Japanese public broadcaster NHK.
His downfall has already seen him lose millions in payouts.
Last year, Nissan canceled retirement and stock-linked compensation and Renault SA said he won’t benefit from a non-compete agreement he signed in 2015 and stock-based payments that were conditional on his staying at the company.
Many of the charges against him center on retirement payments, totaling more than $140 million, which he hadn’t yet received.
That may be just the start.
French investigations examining the possible misuse by Ghosn of Renault’s money to host lavish parties and pay consulting fees are at a preliminary stage.
The former auto executive was already hit with a $1 million penalty as part of a September settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for failing to disclose the retirement payments.
Nissan is looking at bringing legal action against Ghosn in Lebanon, people familiar with the company’s plans said, to recover money it claims he used improperly.
The carmaker is trying to evict him from the pink villa in Beirut to which he still has access.
Nissan purchased it for $8.75 million, renovated it and furnished it for him, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Japan seeks Interpol ‘Red Notice’ for Ghosn’s wife
Japan is seeking an Interpol “Red Notice” for Carole Ghosn, the wife of Carlos Ghosn, the latest move by the country to put pressure on the former auto executive after his surprise escape from trial.
Investigators have already asked International Criminal Police Organization for the notice, which could restrict Carole Ghosn’s movements outside of Lebanon, where she joined her husband, national broadcaster NHK reported, citing unidentified sources.
Interpol has already issued a Red Notice for Carlos Ghosn upon the request of the Japanese government. If one is granted for Carole, it would make it difficult for her to leave the Mediterranean country, although, as Interpol stresses, “a Red Notice is an international wanted persons notice, but it is not an arrest warrant.”