Ghosn mulled turning Japan escape into Hollywood film
A Turkish jet executive on trial over former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn’s dramatic escape from Japan told a court on Friday, that the tycoon wants to make a Hollywood movie of his escape from Japan to Beirut.
An executive from Turkish private jet operator MNG Jet, along with four pilots, were apprehended in early January soon after Ghosn made his escape.
They were charged with migrant smuggling, which could result them in serving a maximum sentence of eight years in jail.
All of the defendants entered the Istanbul court hall in white overalls, masks and gloves as a measure against the coronavirus, according to Reuters.
Two flight attendants, charged with failing to report a crime - which could incur a sentence of up to one year - were also there.
All seven defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.
In their indictment, prosecutors had said MNG Jet operations manager Okan Kosemen knew that Ghosn would be on board and would transfer to Beirut once it left the Japanese city of Osaka.
Kosemen testified in court that he was only told via phone about Ghosn’s presence on the plane once it had already taken off to Istanbul and that he cooperated under pressure, believing his family could be in danger.
He added that a Lebanese broker who had arranged the flight had told him by phone, from Beirut, that Ghosn boss was on board, adding that he had heard “screams of joy” in the background.
“I swore at him [the broker]. I was very angry,” he told the court.
Kosemen later met the plane as it arrived at an Istanbul airport, and accompanied Ghosn on the Beirut-bound flight, he told the court.
“Carlos asked me how much the plane cost ... and told me about Hollywood producers who want to make this escape a movie,” he said.
At the end of Friday’s session, the court ordered Kosemen’s release pending further proceedings of and the four pilots, who remain in custody.
“When you take into account the time they’ve served already we expected a release decision earlier. The court answered our calls for a release today. We think our client is innocent,” Kosemen’s lawyer Levent Yildiz told Reuters.
A lawyer for Ghosn did not immediately respond to a request for a comment by the news agency.