An Istanbul court has on Wednesday convicted three Turks to four years and two months in prison for their involvement in the escape of former Nissan boss, Carlos Ghosn.
The four Turks smuggled the Nissan boss in a musical instrument from Japan to Lebanon.
The court jailed two pilots and an employee of a small private airline who moved the former auto industry giant via Istanbul, while he was out on bail facing financial misconduct charges in December 2019. The court also acquitted two pilots in the case.
The 66-year-old fugitive was arrested in November 2018 and spent 130 days in prison before completing an audacious escape act that humiliated Japanese justice officials and raised questions about who was involved.
Ghosn, who has denied any wrongdoing, has said he fled because he could not get a fair trial in Japan.
The indictment says the escape plan from Japan to Lebanon involved a stopover in Istanbul instead of a direct flight “so as not to arouse suspicions”.
Former US Green Beret member, Michael Taylor and his son Peter are accused together with Lebanese national George-Antoine Zayek of recruiting MNG Jet and overseeing the secret operation.
The Taylors are currently fighting extradition from the United States to Japan and the whereabouts of Zayek are unclear.
The indictment says the plane landed at Istanbul’s old Ataturk airport and parked near another plane bound for Beirut.
MNG Jet’s Kosemen then allegedly jumped off the Osaka plane and boarded the one destined for Beirut together with Ghosn.
It also revealed that Kosemen received several payments into his bank account totalling 216,800 euros and 66,990 dollars in the months before Ghosn’s flight.
He is also accused of being paid an unidentified amount after Ghosn arrived in Beirut.
Kosemen has denied being paid to help Ghosn escape while the pilots and flight attendants say they were unaware he was on board any of the plane’s flights.
MNG filed a complaint last year alleging its aircraft was used illegally without its knowledge.