Carlos Ghosn, former president of Nissan.
Marlene Awaad Bloomberg Getty Images
Japanese authorities allowed deposed Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn to carry a spare French passport in a locked case while on bail, NHK public broadcaster said on Thursday, shedding some light on how he landed a dramatic escape to Lebanon.
Prosecutors raided Tokyo's residence of former Nissan Motor Co Ltd president on Thursday, NHK said.
Ghosn, one of the world's best-known executives, became Japan's most famous fugitive after he revealed on Tuesday that he had fled to Lebanon to escape what he called a "rigged" court system.
The businessman, who has French, Lebanese and Brazilian citizenship, was smuggled from Tokyo by a private security company days ago, the culmination of a plan that was drafted in three months, Reuters reported.
Ghosn was first arrested in Tokyo in November 2018 and faces four charges – which he denies – including hiding income and getting rich through payments to Middle East car dealers. He enjoyed strong support from Lebanon after his arrest.
The Japanese authorities have not officially commented on Ghosn's disappearance. Government offices are closed this week for the New Year holidays.
Officials in Lebanon said Ghosn had legally entered a French passport. But one of Ghosn's Japanese lawyers said the lawyers were still in possession of all three of his passports under his bail.
However, Ghosn received a French reservation passport, NHK said, citing unidentified sources, and carried it in the months before his departure.
NHK, citing the sources, said it was "obliged" to carry the passport with him since May, without giving details of why. Foreigners in Japan should always carry government-issued identification cards or passports.
NHK said his lawyers requested that his bail terms be changed so that he could carry a passport in a locked case.
The key to the locked case where the spare passport was kept was his lawyers, NHK said.
No one was immediately available for comment at his lawyer's office, Junichiro Hironaka, the French embassy in Tokyo, or the Tokyo District Attorney's Office.