Carlos Ghosn, The former rock star businessman who fell out of favor and escaped the authorities by smuggling musical instrument boxes now gets his dramatic story what it deserves – a multi-part documentary series.

Wanted: The Getaway of Carlos Ghosn It’s an interesting true story of how the auto executive went from attending red carpets as Nissan and Renault CEO to fleeing to Lebanon with the help of a former Green Beret.

“Carlos Ghosn’s story is incredible because it’s a Shakespearean tragedy with a quintessential tragic hero and everyone wanted to support him, but he knew a train crash was coming,” said a Wall Street Journal reporter.

The four-part series, which kicks off Friday, will take a broader look at Ghosn’s story, tracing the auto executive’s childhood and upbringing. Time magazine once ranked Ghosn ahead of Bill Gates as one of the 15 most powerful business executives in the world.

Former Renault CEO Louis Schweitzer was also involved. Andy Palmer, former COO of Nissan; Arnaud Montebourg, former Minister of Economy of France; Takashi Yamashita, former Minister of Justice of Japan; and Hiroshi Saikawa, former CEO of Nissan people.

Crucially, director James Jones traveled to Lebanon to sit in front of the camera with Ghosn and his wife, Carol. Jones was offered the job before reaching out to the couple, but he knew he had to involve them.

“You need to hear from the people in the room. You can’t just have experts comment on what happened or recount second-hand stories,” Jones said. “It was a big deal for me to have Carlos and Carol Ghosn talk openly, and I think the show would have been difficult to make without that.”

Many viewers may tune in for Ghosn’s brazen departure from Japan in 2019 after being accused of financial misconduct. He turned to former Green Beret Mike Taylor, who hid the executive in a large musical instrument case — drilled with breathing holes — and rescued him on a private jet.

“My initial reaction was, ‘Is that enough for four parts?’ I knew he was an interesting guy and a great businessman, and the escape was exciting,” Jones said. “But when I took the time to read it, it did feel rich, and the feeling of actually gnashing your teeth was very satisfying.”

Ghosn, who was born in Brazil, has taken refuge in his native Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with Japan. He has denied allegations of financial impropriety and said Japan’s judicial system is unfair. “I didn’t escape justice. I escaped injustice,” he said at the time.

The show also examines Japan’s legal system, which critics say amounts to “hostage justice,” allowing suspects to be interrogated for days without a lawyer present while confining them in solitary confinement in a tiny, rough cell . A conviction rate of more than 99 percent raises questions about the forced confessions.

The case against Ghosn has focused on elaborate calculations to compensate for cuts to his salary after his retirement starting in 2009, when disclosure of huge executive pay became a legal requirement in Japan.

Ghosn has argued that the case against him was concocted in a power struggle within Nissan’s board, and that the series did show a plot by Nissan officials to remove Ghosn over fears of a merger with Renault.

“He’s been wronged, but the allegations look pretty bad,” Jones said. “And he’s hiding out in Lebanon, which doesn’t help in pretending to be innocent.”

Ghosn may have escaped, but not everyone who helped him did. Taylor was sentenced to two years in prison, while his son Peter was sentenced to one year and eight months. They claimed in the series that Ghosn never paid them to help him escape.

Jones sees the Ghosn saga as a cautionary tale of a leader who has lost his way. The executive probably thought he deserved extra compensation for saving Nissan and Renault.

“He thinks he saved these companies from dying and made them successful and built them in his own image, so in a way he has the right to play by his own rules,” he said.

McLean, whose book “Boundless,” which he co-authored with Wall Street Journal reporter Nick Kostoff, informed the series, said Ghosn’s downfall illustrated the need for checks and balances at the executive level.

“He was going to retire as a very rich man, but because he wants more, from now on he will be known for sneaking out of Japan in a box.”


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