Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 23 January 2020

Carlos Ghosn joins the ranks of world's biggest white-collar fugitives

The former Nissan chairman escaped from Japan where he has been under house arrest since April

Carlos Ghosn’s stunning escape from Japan makes him one of the most famous white-collar fugitives in recent years, joining the likes of Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya and American commodities trader Marc Rich.

The former head of Nissan and Renault, who was facing trial for financial crimes, defended his move to Lebanon by saying in a statement he’ll “no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system".

It’s unclear how Mr Ghosn escaped as he’s been under house arrest and close surveillance since being granted bail in April following his initial arrest in November 2018.

He’s a citizen of Lebanon, which doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Japan, and is held in high esteem there. He also holds Brazilian and French citizenship.

Mr Ghosn’s lawyer Junichiro Hironaka said his legal team has all of his passports. Mr Hironaka also said that it was likely he entered his ancestral home country using a different name.

Here’s a look at some high-profile fugitives from the business world in recent years.

Marc Rich

The commodities trader fled to Switzerland hours before being indicted in 1983 on more than 50 counts of wire fraud, racketeering, trading with Iran during an embargo and evading more than $48 million (Dh176.3m) in US income taxes.

The charges stemmed from a multi million-dollar chain of US crude oil deals that roiled the global petroleum industry in the early 1980s.

The businessman was celebrated for inventing the spot-oil market before becoming one of the most wanted white-collar fugitives in American history for 17 years.

After leaving the US, he founded a commodities trading company that became the forerunner of today’s Glencore.

On the last day of his presidency in January 2001, Bill Clinton pardoned Mr Rich, who repeatedly maintained his innocence. Mr Rich died in 2013.

Christopher Skase

The entrepreneur died in Majorca, a Spanish island, in 2001, a decade after fleeing Australia as his media and hotel empire Qintex Australia collapsed. The businesses included Seven Network Australia, the country’s second-largest television network.

Mr Skase successfully fought bids to extradite him to Australia. An order to expel him was in place but suspended by the Spanish government a month before he died of cancer at the age of 52.

Vijay Mallya

Mr Mallya has been subjected to extradition efforts by Indian authorities for years. He is based in London, where he was taken to court by a dozen state-owned Indian banks petitioning for him to be declared bankrupt over $1.5 billion in unpaid debts.

His business interests stretched from motor racing to airlines. He was the founder of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines.

Nirav Modi

The celebrity jeweller was arrested in London in March, last year, for allegedly defrauding India’s Punjab National Bank of $2bn. He was denied bail due to “substantial risks” he’d flee the country to avoid extradition to India.

Updated: January 1, 2020 03:43 PM

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