The daring escape of storied auto executive Carlos Ghosn from Japan has given rise to multiple theories and speculations. While the world discusses the filmy-style escape that shamed Japanese authorities, the person in the limelight is Carole Ghosn, the wife of the ex-Nissan boss.
French newspaper Le Monde exclusively reported that Carole was the brain behind the dramatic escape of Ghosn. The daily reported that she orchestrated the daring plot to save Ghosn from a home with 24-hour manned surveillance. Yet, the mainstream news media has very little information on the woman who apparently pulled off the most sensational breakout of the year.
Who is Carole Ghosn?
Carole Ghosn, 53, is the second wife of Carlos Ghosn. They married in 2016. The high-flying auto executive had divorced his first wife Rita Kordahi in 2012. The two married in 1984 and they have four grown children -- Caroline, Nadine, Maya and Anthony. Ghosn's marriage with Carole was a big ticket event of the year, wherein the tycoon threw an opulent party at the Grand Trianon of the Palace of Versailles in Paris.
The blonde-haired beauty who loved to walk down the red carpet in the arms of Ghosn, was born in Beirut, Lebanon, as Carole Nahas. According to France 24, she holds American citizenship. She also has three children from her first marriage. Carole is also a successful entrepreneur who started a company dealing in luxury kaftans.
How did she save Carlos Ghosn?
Lebanese television channel MTV said Ghosn was whisked out of Japan in a large musical instrument box. This is more of a speculative story at the moment, as the station hasn't quoted any credible source. However, the plausibility of this is high as a Christmas band had performed at Ghosn's residence in Tokyo ahead of his fleeing.
Reports said Ghosn got to a small airport ensconced in the music instrument box and then travelled to Turkey in a private jet. In Turkey, he was given top level support that enabled him to transfer planes and travel further on to Beirut's Hariri International airport.
Lebanese and French media reports say that Carole Ghosn had pulled the strings deftly, using the support of her brothers and high-level contacts within Turkey to implement the plan. Le Monde reported that Carole was with Ghosn when he landed in Beirut on Monday, hoodwinking the Japanese authorities.
Another version of Ghosn's escape touted by French daily Les Echos is that he travelled out of Japan using a forged passport and donning a false identity. Emplaning from a smaller airport would have helped him avoid detection, the paper said. Meanwhile, Britain's Guardian newspaper said Lebanese political leaders had instructed officials not to press arrival formalities in Ghosn's case.
One of these versions may be close to the truth. Whatever the case, it was impossible for Ghosn to escape from Japan without a carefully orchestrated plan supported by people with high-level contacts every step of the way.
High-voltage defence of Carols Ghosn
If any of these spins happens to be correct, Carole has had her revenge on the Japanese prosecutors and her husband's alleged detractors within Nissan's corporate echelons. Carole had vehemently and vociferously defended her husband ever since he was arrested in Japan in November 2018. In one of the most telling TV accounts of her defence of Ghosn, Carole had ripped into the Japanese legal system in an interview with CNBC.
"It's devastating to think he's being treated like, you know, a big criminal over an accusation that we still don't understand what it is," she said in the interview. She had also travelled to world capitals including Paris and Washington in order to garner support ahead of the G-20 summit of 2018. Carole was successful in highlighting the emotional and mental abuse Ghosn had allegedly suffered in the Japanese detention centres.
Carole has the last laugh
She also tore into Ghosn's rivals within Nissan, who she accrued of felling the auto tycoon in order to torpedo Nissan's merger deal with Renault. "I think he's devastated that a company that he loved and he worked so hard for could do this to him," Carole said in the CNBC interview.
"We know it's a conspiracy. Nissan did not want this merger ... A few people within Nissan decided to get rid of my husband, that was the easiest way not to do the merger... There was maybe a more civilized way of doing it," she said.