Turkish authorities detained seven people, including four pilots, after it began an investigation into private jet flights that appear to have taken former Nissan Motor Co. executive Carlos Ghosn first to Istanbul and then to Beirut.
An operations manager for a private cargo company and two employees of a private ground services firm were also pulled in for questioning, state run news agency Anadolu reported.
Ghosn, who was facing trial for alleged financial crimes in Japan, appears to have flown to Lebanon on a private jet operated by a subsidiary of Turkey’s MNG Holding, according to a senior Turkish official with direct knowledge of the matter.
The former automotive executive seems to have flown to Istanbul on another MNG aircraft on Monday morning and was transferred between the two airplanes inside a box, the official said, asking not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.
Airport police weren’t made aware that Ghosn was on board, the official said. The chief Turkish prosecutor’s office is running the investigation into the circumstances that surround Ghosn’s transit through Istanbul.
The details gathered so far by Turkish authorities shed some light on the mechanics of how Ghosn was transported to Lebanon even though he’d been deprived of his passports.
They also portray Turkey as being caught unaware of the plot, with the official claiming that the first jet’s stop in Istanbul was unexpected and came as a result of a problem reported by the pilot. That appears to contradict other reports that said the flight plan for the aircraft indicated it was always meant to fly to Istanbul.