Carlos Ghosn, Brazilian-born French businessman of Lebanese ancestry and former chairman and CEO of Nissan, mysteriously escaped house arrest in Japan and arrived in Beirut, Lebanon on Dec. 30.
In a statement released by his press representative, Ghosn claimed he would "no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system where guilt is presumed, discrimination is rampant and basic human rights are denied."
Ghosn was first arrested in November 2018 on allegations of under-reporting his earnings and misusing company assets. He was granted bail in March 2019. Shortly afterwards, he was re-arrested in Tokyo in April over new allegations regarding misappropriating Nissan's funds. As a condition of being released on bail, Ghosn had to stay in Japan with 24-hour camera surveillance monitored by police as he awaited trial to defend himself against charges of financial misconduct.
Lebanon's MTV first reported that Ghosn had fled his residence in Tokyo with the assistance of a paramilitary group who were disguised amongst a band coming to Ghosn's house for a private Christmas dinner concert. The musical ended with the millionaire hiding in one of the larger musical instrument cases, which was then taken to a local airport in Japan where he took a flight to Istanbul, Turkey before arriving in Lebanon on a private jet.
The fugitive reportedly met Lebanon's president upon arrival in Beirut
According to two sources close to the fugitive, Ghosn met with Lebanese President Michel Aoun to thank him for his continued support throughout his detention in Japan and to stress on the importance of continued protection and security after fleeing his prosecution.
The sources, who said details of the meeting where specified to them by Ghosn himself, added that the meeting between the two had not been made public. President Aoun's official media office denied the two had met.
The Interpol has sent the Lebanese authorities a "red notice," which is "a request to police across the world to provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender or other similar legal action," according to BBC.
But Ghosn couldn't have arrived in his motherland at a worse time. The country's largest anti-corruption protests against political elites (the president being one of the main contenders) ensued on Oct. 17 and are still ongoing.
Social media users have noted the cinematic irony of the situation unfolding in real time, and refused to let it go without a couple of memes first.
1. So many questions, so little answers
2. Now you see him, now you don't
3. What passport did he use to exit Japan and land in Lebanon?
Lebanese officials said Ghosn entered the country legally on a French passport, though his French, Lebanese, and Brazilian passports are with his lawyers in Japan.
According to Gulf News, the Lebanese businessman has a spare French passport granted to him by Japanese authorities.
Lebanon and Japan have no extradition agreement.
4. Even Elon Musk couldn't help but tweet about it
5. Is Japan going to let this one go?
6. Tokyo drift to the nearest airport
7. That's one series we'd all happily watch
8. Did Ghosn design his last and final car before quitting Renault?
Even the French decided to partake in the memes.
9. Was he just trying to make his Snapchat followers jealous?
"I'm in Europe, kisses. I'm about to fly."
Someone make him a TikTok account real quick.
10. There's a new shape in the books, kids
11. Was he disguised as Britney Spears?
That doesn't seem at all like a reach.
12. Did someone custom order a Hitachi washing machine?
Hope that box was labeled fragile.
13. "Japan will impose punishments on us and stop importing sushi"
14. Are Lebanese people ready to start eating koushi?
15. And most importantly, what's awaiting us on Jan. 8?
Nissan ex-boss will reportedly hold a news conference in Beirut on Jan. 8 to discuss his situation further.