Carlos Ghosn, former chairman of Nissan Motor Co., sits in a vehicle as he leaves his lawyer’s office in Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday, March 6, 2019.
Takaaki Iwabu | Bloomberg | Getty Images
As Nissan’s former Chairman Carlos Ghosn made his way from Osaka, Japan to Istanbul, Turkey in a private jet, the price of the flight was likely the least of his concerns.
A source close to the investigation tells CNBC that a firm listed in Dubai agreed to pay $350,000 to MNG Jet for two flights: one from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates to Osaka; and a second from Osaka to Istanbul. CNBC has reviewed evidence indicating an initial payment or $175,000 or half of the total cost for the two flights.
Who made the initial payment? Evidence reviewed by CNBC shows a man named Dr. Ross Allen involved in securing the flight. Officially, Al-Nitaq Al Akhdhar for General Trade Limited, a firm out of Dubai, leased the getaway plane.
However, CNBC has learned Al-Nitaq Al Akhdhar for General Trade Limited is actually based in Baghdad, Iraq. It’s unclear if the company or someone else actually put up the $175,000 for use of the plane.
The private jet, a Bombardier Global Express, was the perfect plane to spirit Ghosn out of Japan at 11:09 p.m. on Dec. 29. With a range of 7,077 miles, the plane would easily be able to make the 5,430 mile flight from Osaka to Istanbul.
The plane is also big enough to carry large equipment cases, including one which Ghosn allegedly hid in for the flight from Japan to Turkey, according to the Wall Street Journal. That equipment case is now in the custody of investigators in Turkey, who have dusted it for fingerprints.
MNG Jet, which operates the plane, has denied having any knowledge the Bombardier would be used to help Ghosn jump bail.
The former Nissan chairman’s name is not on any of the documents leasing the aircraft. MNG Jet has filed a criminal complaint against one of its employees, Okan Kosemen, for his role in helping with Ghosn’s getaway. CNBC has reached out to Kosemen’s attorney who declined to comment on the investigation.
Turkish daily Hurriyet reports that Kosemen told investigators he helped Ghosn escape because an acquaintance from Beirut threatened him.
“I was scared. I took a man from one jet and put him into the other one at the airport. I did not know who he was,” Kosemen said in a statement to authorities, according to Hurriyet.
Ghosn, who was under arrest in Japan for more than a year, has said little about how he was able to arrange his escape. Two days after landing in Beirut and announcing he was escaping political persecution, Ghosn issued a second statement saying, “I alone arranged for my departure.”