Turkey’s MNG Jet has confirmed that two business jets it operates for charter flights were used by former automotive executive Carlos Ghosn to escape from Japan, where he is facing charges of serious financial misconduct. In a statement issued on Friday morning, MNG said it has filed a criminal complaint against an unnamed employee who it alleges falsified records for two flights to conceal the fact that Ghosn was on board.
According to MNG Jet general manager Can Sasmaz, the company “leased” two aircraft to two different clients—one for a trip from Dubai to Osaka in Japan and then from Osaka to Istanbul, and the second for a flight from Istanbul to Beirut. A company spokesman confirmed to AIN that, as previously reported, the aircraft used for the flights were a Bombardier Global 6000 (tail number TC-TSR) and Bombardier Challenger 300 (TC-RZA).
MNG said that it does not own these aircraft but was operating them under a management contract. It stated that the two “leases” did not appear to be connected to each other and that Ghosn’s name did not appear in any official documentation associated with them. It subsequently clarified that the flights were conducted as charter bookings.
“After having learned through the media that the leasing was benefitting Mr. Ghosn and not the officially declared passengers, MNG Jet launched an internal inquiry and filed a criminal complaint in Turkey on Wednesday, 1 January 2020, to prosecute those who were involved,” Sasmaz said in the written statement. “One employee of the company, who is under investigation by the authorities, has admitted having falsified the records. He confirmed that he acted in his individual capacity, without the knowledge or the authorization of the management of MNG Jet. MNG Jet is proactively cooperating with the authorities and hopes that the people who illegally used and/or facilitated the use of the services of the company will be duly prosecuted.”
On Thursday, Turkish interior ministry officials confirmed that police had arrested seven people, including four pilots, ( N.P, Ö.B.B., S.K., B.K.S ) two employees of an unnamed handling company, and an employee of a cargo company. They also indicated that there had been no record of Ghosn entering or leaving Turkey during the last two or three days of December. According to MNG, both flights were handled at Ataturk Airport by Havas Celebi.
In addition to aircraft management and charter, MNG also provides a wide range of maintenance services for business aircraft. The company is a member of the European Business Aviation Association.
The current ownership of the two aircraft used for Ghosn’s escape is unclear. The Global 6000 appears to have been formerly owned by the Qatar government’s Amiri Flight before it joined the Turkish aircraft register in 2018. The Challenger 300 entered the Turkish register in 2012 and was then shown to be owned by Turkish leasing group Halk Finansal Kiralama AS.
MNG declined to comment to AIN on the current ownership of the aircraft. It also would not confirm how many passengers had been on the flights concerned, but did say that it has not previously provided any services to Ghosn.
Reza ZARRAB, One of the Business Jet belongs to the another business man who has been arrested in Miami, Florida, On 19 March 2016, related to the activities “conspiring to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran (by using his gold business to help Iran’s government evade the sanctions), money laundering and bank fraud.”
During the case, prosecutors have noted that Zarrab donated $4.5 million to a charity founded by Emine Erdoğan, the wife of former prime minister and now president of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Prosecutors stated that Zarrab has “close ties” to Erdoğan