Carlos Ghosn’s stunning escape from Japan makes him one of the most famous white-collar fugitives in recent years, joining the likes of Malaysian businessman Jho Low and Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya.
The former head of Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA, who was facing trial in Japan for financial crimes, defended the move by saying in a statement that he’ll “no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system.”
It’s unclear how 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. Ghosn’s lawyer Junichiro Hironaka said his legal team has all of his passports, adding that it’s likely he entered Lebanon using a different name.
Here’s a look at some high-profile fugitives from the business world in recent years.
Malaysia is still trying to bring in Low Taek Jho, known as Jho Low, the alleged mastermind behind the siphoning of billions of dollars from state-owned investment fund 1MDB. The scandal led to Prime Minister Najib Razak losing a 2018 election, ending 61 years of his party’s rule, and has entangled individuals and businesses far and wide, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Malaysian authorities last week complained about a lack of cooperation from other countries in their search for Jho Low. In September, Inspector-General Abdul Hamid Bador said the financier was in a jurisdiction that has an extradition treaty with Malaysia and talks were being held with a party suspected of protecting him.
The entrepreneur died in Majorca in 2001, a decade after fleeing Australia as his media and hotel empire Qintex Australia Ltd. collapsed. The businesses included Seven Network Australia Ltd., the country’s second-largest television network.
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.
Kerviel was sentenced to a brief stint in jail in one of the biggest rogue-trading cases in history, but not before he paid a trip to Italy and met Pope Francis at the Vatican. He then set off on a three-month walk back to France, where he was taken into custody at the border.
He ended up serving just 114 days behind bars, having cost his former employer Societe Generale SA $6.3 billion.
The so-called King of Good Times has been subject to extradition efforts by Indian authorities for years. Mallya is based in London, where this month he was taken to court by a dozen state-owned Indian banks petitioning for him to be declared bankrupt over £1.15 billion pounds ($1.5 billion) in unpaid debts.
Mallya’s business interests stretched from liquor to motor racing to airlines. He was the founder of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines Ltd.
The celebrity jeweler was arrested in London in March for allegedly defrauding Punjab National Bank of $2 billion. He was denied bail due to “substantial risks” he’d flee the country to avoid extradition to India.